Parent Speaks Out About North Marshall Middle School Teacher Who Pleaded Guilty To Harassment

Dec 21, 2018

Credit Matt Markgraf / WKMS

The father of an eighth-grade girl who was harassed at North Marshall Middle School is speaking out after a teacher pleaded guilty on Wednesday.

47-year-old Daniel Whitesides taught social studies and pleaded guilty in Marshall County District Court to one count of harassment with physical contact. Three other charges were dismissed as a compromise, but court documents say the dismissals “should not be construed as a statement to the merit of the allegations.”

County Attorney Jason Darnall said this is common for misdemeanor charges, because they do not “stack” like felonies. He said an example would be that three felony charges would compound jail time, but three misdemeanor charges would only constitute the jail time from one charge. He added that parents of the students involved accepted the terms.

Parent Tim Clapp said Whitesides was one of many teachers tasked with wanding students with a metal detector following the Marshall County High School shooting. Clapp said his daughter, who was one of the victims in the case, told him of Whitesides’ “creepy” nature.

Clapp said, “There was not an end to any of this. It was everyday something about Mr. Whitesides-‘I don’t want to go back to Mr. Whitesides class, I don’t want to go to sixth period, all my friends, you know, they say the same thing.’”

Clapp said he and his daughter’s mother, Lindsay Fox Clapp complained to the school board, which prompted the case. After Whitesides pleaded guilty on Wednesday, Clapp posted about the experience on Facebook.

In the court documents, complaints state Whitesides “smacked a student’s butt” with a metal detector wand, played with female students’ hair and put his finger in a student’s ear.          

Whitesides attorney has not responded to a request for comment.

Marshall County School Superintendent Trent Lovett said the School Board is “not allowed to respond at this time.”

Darnall said Whitesides will serve up to 90 days in jail if he violates his two-year probation. He also said the school will decide whether Whitesides will be allowed to continue teaching.