BELGREEN | A visit by Franklin County’s K9 officers to Belgreen High School Wednesday morning resulted in a teacher there being arrested on multiple charges and the school going on lockdown while the matter was being investigated.
Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Rodney Waddle, 50, of Tishomingo, Miss., on two charges of Reckless Endangerment and one charge of Public Intoxication. He was booked into the Franklin County Detention Center just before 1 p.m. As the charges were all misdemeanors, bond was set at $2,500 and Waddle was released later in the afternoon.
Waddle is listed on the school website as being a science teacher but was currently teaching driver’s education and was in charge of the in-school suspension program.
Franklin County K9 officers Sitka and Mambo, with their handlers, deputies Weclowski and Burks, were initially on campus for a visit with the Pre-K class and to perform a random drug search at the school before the arrest. According to Sheriff Shannon Oliver, while officers were on campus, Waddle, “pulled up in a car owned by the Franklin County Board of Education (FCBOE). During this time, a K9 alerted on the desk that Waddle used in the classroom where he taught. After the classroom alert, a K9 also alerted on the FCBOE vehicle that Waddle was seen driving into the parking lot of Belgreen school and then on his personal vehicle. Waddle was then removed from the classroom immediately by deputies and school personnel, where he consented to a search of his personal vehicle. Upon contact with Waddle, deputies noticed that he was under the influence of some substance which caused impairment. During the search of his personal vehicle, deputies found a controlled substance for which Waddle had a prescription. After field sobriety testing, Waddle was placed under arrest for public intoxication. He was also charged with two counts of reckless endangerment due to having two students in the FCBOE vehicle he was driving, this according to witnesses.”
The school initially went into a “secure the perimeter” mode before going into a hard lockdown while the matter was being investigated by sheriff’s deputies and Waddle was being placed under arrest.
Franklin County Schools Superintendent, Greg Hamilton, could not comment specifically on Waddle as the district has to handle this as a personnel matter. However, he did stress that making sure the school campuses in the county are safe is of the highest importance.
“The education and safety of Franklin County students is paramount,” Hamilton said. “I want to say thank you to our administrators, teachers, staff, SROs (school resource officers) and law enforcement for their excellent work during the lockdown. I will not have any comment on personnel matters.”