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Parents react to Jackson County school coach arrest

Parents in Jackson County say they're preparing for the difficult conversation with their kids after a coach and substitute teacher was arrested on child porn charges.

Posted: Jan 23, 2020 6:08 PM
Updated: Jan 23, 2020 8:51 PM

Parents in Jackson County say they're preparing for the difficult conversation with their kids after a coach and substitute teacher was arrested on child porn charges.

The sheriff's office said Wayland Hester used to work at section high school. He's charged with four counts of possession of child pornography.

The superintendent told WAAY 31 Hester is no longer allowed at any Jackson County School property.

Parents say they're asking their kids about their encounters with the former coach.

"When he saw the picture he said 'that's coach tree!' Daddy, that's the coach at my school," said parent, Anthony Smith.

When Anthony Smith heard Jackson County Sheriff's Officers arrested a coach and substitute teacher at his son's school for child porn charges, he immediately started asking questions.

"I asked him numerous times if he had a run in with him, if he had ever took pictures of him or anything like that. I wanted to cover me and my son and make sure nothing like that happened," said Smith.

He says, Hester was often referred to as "Coach Tree" because of his height, and he always heard good things about him.

"I've been told by several parents that have actually talked to him that he was a real good guy. That you wouldn't ever suspect anything," said Smith.

The Jackson County superintendent told WAAY 31 the district took all of its required safety measures before hiring Hester.

"We do criminal history, background checks, fingerprints, things along those lines," said Jackson County Schools Superintendent, Kevin Dukes.

But Smith says he wants more to be done.

"My biggest concern is another teacher slipping under the radar," said Smith.

The district says it's working with the sheriff's office to see what else they can be done to screen potential employees. Meanwhile, the district is providing counselors to students at section high school.

Superintendent Dukes says at this point no students in Jackson County schools are victims in this case.

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