Toney postpones court by jury trial request
Lucas Vance Staff Writer
WINNSBORO — The defensive coordinator for the the Fairfield Central High School Griffins has requested a jury trial in Magistrate’s Court on a charge of simple possession of marijuana lodged against him following a traffic stop on Dec. 6, 2013.
David Toney, who is also a Fairfield Middle School math teacher, was placed in administrative leave following the arrest, which took place at the crossing of S.C. 34 and I-77.
Judge Paul Swearingen said Thursday that a date has not been set for Toney’s jury trial. The trial will be held at the magistrate’s court in Winnsboro once a jury has been selected. Toney has retained Doward Keith Harvin from Hemingway as an attorney.
J.R. Green, superintendent of Fairfield County Schools, said Toney’s pay would continue until the issue is resolved, stating that he would make a recommendation to the school board at the Jan. 21 meeting.
In light of Toney’s request for a jury trial, Green said he would consult with attorneys to estimate how long the case would be delayed.
“If it is something quick, then I will delay my recommendation to the school board until the case is resolved,” he stated.
Toney was hired in 2008 after working at Orangeburg for two years. Prior to that, he was employed by the Richland One School District. At the time of Toney’s hire in August 2008, the superintendent was Samantha Ingram and the director of human resources was Jeffrey Long, who was hired in July 2008.
Toney originally came into FCSD as a teacher and a coach because he wanted to be a part of Reggie Kennedy’s coaching staff. Kennedy was the head coach at the time.
Green said that Toney has not had any disciplinary actions taken against him since being hired in 2008. Last year, Toney was Fairfield Middle School’s Teacher of the Year.
“He has been a very good teacher and an outstanding employee since he’s been here,” Green noted.
According to a SLED background check by The Herald Independent, Toney was previously arrested on Dec. 21, 2006, in Richland County for simple possession of marijuana.
Although Toney was not hired by Green or the current director of human resources, Green said he assumes the previous administration was evaluating Toney on a case-by-case basis regarding a blemish on a background check.
“Depending on person’s history we would have to make a decision if that person has really changed,” Green explained. “We have to look at what the discrepancies are, and just because there is a discrepancy on a person’s application you can’t just automatically throw it out. However, there are some discrepancies that are too recent or too severe and I would not feel comfortable with and then there are others that enough time has passed and the person has changed and could be valuable to the organization.
Green said a decision regarding Toney’s administrative leave would not be made until at least Jan. 21.
“It is very often when you make a determination that it works out in your favor but then sometimes you have a situation like this,” Green said. “There is some opportunity for redemption and we always have to evaluate that and make a judgement call.”
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