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Substitute teacher arrest raises concerns among parents

11:50 PM, Dec 8, 2012   |    comments
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ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- A newly hired substitute teacher in St. Johns County was arrested on charges of possessing obscene material.

Parents in St. Johns County are worried about safety as the investigation continues.

Matthew Atkinson, 26, was a substitute teacher for less than week and is being charged with 5 counts of possession of obscene material.

The St. Johns County School District says they performed all the necessary background checks on Atkinson, but parents are asking is there really anything else that can be done to screen teachers.

"Parents just need to be involved, I was a teacher in Duval County and you know the screening is thorough, the counties are doing all they can to protect our students it's the parents jobs to step in and become more involved," said David Graham.

David Graham and his wife Sarah have a pre-schooler in St. John's County and are looking for elementary schools for their 4-year-old next year, but after these allegations concerning the substitute teacher, they are considering home-schooling.

Sarah Graham said,"We are just taking it day by day we just don't really know yet probably because of this particular reason we really don't know know who would be teaching Rebecca or the substitute teacher".

The St. John's County Sheriff's Office says the charges against 26-year-old Matthew Atkinson involved child exploitation and are internet based, but could not confirm if they are of obscene material related to children.

The material is also not school related. Atkinson began substituting this Tuesday and worked at Mills Creek Elementary, Wards Elementary, and Gaines Alternative and Transitional School.

The manager at South Beach Grille in St. Augustine beach also confirms Atkinson was a part time employee since March 1 of this year. He says Atkinson was hoping to turn the substituting position to full time.

First Coast News

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