A substitute teacher for the Pascagoula school system was convicted Wednesday of having sex with a student during class.
A jury found John Graves, 22, guilty on one of the two counts against him. The jury couldn't decide on the second count relating to an incident with female high school student in October, 2000.
The jury heard testimony from the female student who said the two had consensual sex behind a desk. Graves took the stand in his own defense and denied having intercourse. He will be sentenced March first
Graves was never employed by the Pascagoula school system, but by a temporary job service that supplies substitute teachers for the school system.
You might be surprised to learn there are only three requirements to be a substitute teacher. All subs must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, and pass a criminal background check.
On any given day, dozens of substitute teachers are working throughout the Pascagoula School System.
"I try to provide continuity, I don't do this to baby sit. I don't do it for the money, I do to try to help the children out and the teachers as well," substitute teacher Eric Bonner said.
It's easy to see why Bonner is a regular substitute. Each time he is requested, he is contacted by a temporary job company called Kelly Services. Kelly has provided all of the school system's substitute teachers for the last three years, including John Graves who was convicted of having sex with a student.
"Everything has gone really well with Kelly Services," Bonner said. "Of course, we had this incident, and it's very upsetting to hear about. These types of events certainly make you rethink what you do and make you take another look at it."
Superintendent Dr. Hank Bounds doesn't believe the minimal standards for substitute teachers need to be changed, and he's satisfied with Kelly Services. He adds that the school is taking steps to prevent an event like that happen again.
Three other students knew about the incident with the substitute teacher, but didn't say anything. It wasn't until weeks later when a teacher overheard a conversation that it was revealed.