‘If our board would have listened to parents and teachers, we would not be in this situation’: Worth Co. parents concerned after would-be band director faces sex charges

Worth Co. Board of Education on Rescinded Contract

SYLVESTER, Ga. (WALB) - The Fitzgerald High School band director who had accepted the same job at Worth County High School (WCHS) will not be working for the Worth County School System after he was arrested last week.

Jonathan Kelly is facing charges for aggravated sodomy and for sexual assault involving a minor.

According to Ben Hill County Sheriff Lee Cone, Kelly is being held in the Crisp County Jail.

Before his arrest, Kelly was slated to start this summer as Worth County High School’s new band director but the school system’s attorney said that’s not going to happen.

Coleman said Kelly and his attorney have been cooperating with school officials.

“He was very gracious, he seems to understand that the relationship between Worth County and Mr. Kelly cannot go forward and instructed us to just draft a letter, sending it to them, rescinding the contract,” said Coleman.

The Ben Hill County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the allegations that about an incident involving a juvenile and former student, according to the sheriff’s office.

Kelly could face more charges in this case, after a second victim came forward with allegations.

Kelly is set to appear before a Ben Hill County judge on June 11.

According to a letter sent by Superintendent Bill Settle, the Worth County High School band director position was officially reopened as of Tuesday.

“I think we’ve got this resolved in the best interest of everybody, as my understanding this morning. I think Worth County will go ahead and try to locate them a band director for the next school year,” said Coleman.

Settle said the school will work with band boosters until the role is filled.

Coleman said a parent has already contacted him about the high school band’s concerns.

“I have talked to one parent, who is a friend of mine, who I was told the band itself was a bit unsettled. Band students, as you might expect, not knowing what will happen and who will be their band director next year,” said Coleman.

“I’m very disappointed that all of this happened. I would also go on to say if our board would have listened to parents and teachers, we would not be in this situation. We had a perfectly good band director that got moved to the elementary school from the high school,” Tatina Tucker, a parent of a student at WCHS, said. “Just sad, I’m really sad for the child in Fitzgerald.”

According to parents and teachers, the high school’s band director’s seat has seen a few instructors pass through within the past semesters.

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