Ben Tuberville turned away from our cameras as Clinton police fingerprinted him Thursday afternoon. He's now charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a misdemeanor. Police served the warrant on him at his Clinton home, and called him cooperative.
However, police had harsh worlds regarding the electronic messages they say Tuberville shared with a 15-year-old Clinton child in early July. The gender of the child has not been made public.
"I'll tell you they were highly inappropriate between an adult and a minor child. The investigation centers around one set of messages. One incident," says Clinton Police Detective Warren Sullivan.
Police say Tuberville and the minor used an app called Voxer. It sends pictures, voice and text on mobile devices.
"The minor's mother is alert. She was checking on the electronic communication of her child. She found this information on the child's phone," Sullivan says.
The mom alerted authorities, and on Wednesday, Tuberville was fired from his new job as band director at McLaurin High School in Rankin County. Tuberville had previously been a band director in the Hinds County School District. He has never been employed with the Clinton schools.
Nonetheless, the Clinton Schools are using a new technology this year that allows teachers to safely text students. All it takes is a computer and a phone.
The free program, called Remind 101, fits with the policy of the Clinton School District and most other districts in the metro area, which prohibits teachers from texting an individual student.
Clinton Schools Technology Director Kameron Bell says teachers can use it to disseminate study tips or other messages.
"It is a one-way mass communication system, so it will not allow the student or parent to respond to the teachers," Bell says, "It goes through a 3rd party through the website. It scrambles the numbers," she says, explaining that Remind 101 hides the phone numbers of the teachers, students and parents.
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