Students' family members voice concerns about Prentiss teacher fired after cameras found in bathroom

Students' family members voice concerns about Prentiss teacher fired after cameras found in bathroom
Arthur Martin
Arthur Martin

PRENTISS, MS (WDAM) - A Prentiss teacher has been fired after cameras were found in a restroom at J.E. Johnson Elementary School.

According to John Wayne Tolar of the Jeff Davis County Sheriff Department, Arthur Martin claimed that he put the camera in the bathroom at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and it was found later that day at 1 p.m.

Martin taught fifth grade, according to Tolar.

Martin has been charged with photographing and filming a subject without consent under the age of 16, according to MBI officials.

According to MBI officials, investigators seized a computer and other technology from Martin's Lamar County home.

Martin's bond was set at $150,000.

Jefferson Davis Superintendent of Education Will L. Russell released the following statement regarding the incident:

"On September 23,2015, a camera was found in one of the restrooms at J.E. Johnson Elementary School. In our effort to promote safety for all students, the matter was immediately reported and placed under investigation. There were no students injured or harmed from this incident. After being turned over to authorities, the camera was determined to be one of the employees of the school. In upholding the Mississippi Code of Ethics, this employee was terminated. It is the goal of the district to ensure that all employees, students, staff, and any visitor on our campuses are safe."

However, one parent, who did not want to be identified, said she was not notified by the school about the incident.

"My child comes home and tells me that there's a video camera in the bathroom. Like really? I don't get a notification from any teachers. I didn't get a note from either one of my kids," the parent said.

She said she has two children in fifth grade, which is the same grade Martin was teaching.

""Is my child on this video? I didn't get any type of anything. We need to be aware of this. We didn't have anything. We're only going by what other people are saying, and you can't listen to kids all the time," the parent said.

Juanita Baggett is a grandmother of students at J.E. Johnson and had a similar experience.

"My grandson came home and was talking about that," Baggett said. "I was like 'what? What happened?' He told me 'granny I don't really know, but all I know is that this is going on at the school.' Why hasn't the school called and let the parents know what's going on? If it had been, you know, anything else they would have said something. These are kids. little innocent kids that have to go to school. What if he would have went in the bathroom and actually attacked one of those kids? What were they going to do? Cover it up then and keep it? Something really needs to be done."

"We really need answers about this," the parent said. "We really need answers."