Misdemeanor Charges Catch up to Coach
Thu, 09/01/2022 - 9:32am admin
Amanda Mendez, Publisher
Pull quote: "No person would be considered for a job if they did not openly disclose any information or if we felt that the information that we received would lead us to believe that they should not associate with students in our school district," said the school district
A first-year teacher and cross country coach at Liberty High School spent the weekend before school started in Callaway County Jail. Jackson Q. Conner, 22, of Mountain View, served two days of shock incarceration from Aug. 19 to Aug. 21, confirms court documents.
The sentence stems from a 2019 driving while intoxicated incident. A probable cause statement alleges Conner was driving the wrong way on a one-way street at 1:48 a.m. on October 27, 2019 when Fulton Police Officers initiated a traffic stop. Conner, then aged 19, failed field sobriety tests. A breath sample showed he had a 0.128 BAC.
Conner was sentenced to two years' probation on a suspended imposition of sentence in February of 2020.
He appeared in Callaway County on Aug. 19 for a hearing on a new misdemeanor charge. In this April 2021 incident, a probable cause statement from Fulton Police Officer Garrett Poole accuses Conner of pushing a trash can into a roadway and then running from police even after Officer Poole threatened to use a Taser.
"He ran from the police twice and caused a roadway hazard, which indicates he had no regard for other peoples property [sic]," reads the statement.
These events took place at 1:20 a.m. on April 18, 2021, but the summons in the criminal case was not issued until February of this year.
On August 19, Conner pled guilty in both the matters above and was sentenced to a total of 55 days' incarceration, under a suspended execution of sentence, and two years of unsupervised probation. He served the two days' shock time the weekend before the school year began.
Jackson Conner's contract with the Mountain View-Birch Tree R-III School District began August 15. In response to an inquiry from Howell County News on August 26, Superintendent Don Christensen confirmed Conner is currently employed at the district. According to an Aug. 9 Facebook post from the district, Conner was hired as a Computer Applications teacher and cross country coach.
Conner is an alumnus of Liberty High School and the son of Liberty High School assistant principal and curriculum director, Tammy Heiney.
"When teachers apply for positions in our school district, they go through a thorough vetting process," offered Dr. Christensen in a statement. "We contact former employers, universities, and people from whom they have received recommendations. Prior to being hired, every applicant must first submit to and pass a drug test. A thorough background check is done at the same time using a professional fingerprint and background-check agency. This background check reveals all information that could be received from law enforcement agencies across the United States. It reveals not only convictions, but any charges that might have been made in connection with an applicant. We thoroughly review every background check."
Conner's misdemeanor criminal charges are a matter of public record and should have appeared on a background check.
"As we interview each candidate, we review with them all information obtained from the employment application and background check," continued Dr. Christensen's statement. "No person would be considered for a job if they did not openly disclose any information or if we felt that the information that we received would lead us to believe that they should not associate with students in our school district."
In addition to the procedures specific to the school district, the statement explains that every teacher hired must have obtained a teaching Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), which requires it's own layer of vetting and a background check.
"The state, like our district, would not issue a teaching certificate to an individual who they felt was not deserving or who they felt should not be associating with students in a public school. That said, I can assure you that all background checks and vetting protocols have taken place for all of our employees both at the local and state level. Teaching certificates have been issued for our teachers. If anything had been disclosed in a background check, we dealt with it in an appropriate manner with the applicant," concludes the statement. `