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Teacher involved in shooting placed on administrative leave

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Nov. 3, 2001
The Lauderdale County School Board voted Friday to place James Beavers, a Southeast Middle School math teacher, on administrative leave with pay.
Beavers had been suspended without pay from the school district after being charged with manslaughter in the Oct. 20 shooting death of Tommy Johnson of Newton County.
The charges were dropped after a preliminary hearing in Justice Court last week.
The board met in executive session for about 30 minutes before announcing its decision. They decided to follow the advice of board attorney John Compton, who recommended administrative leave with pay pending presentation of the case to a Lauderdale County grand jury later this month.
Beavers, 38, of Quitman, did not attend the meeting, but about 10 observers were present. Among them was the deceased's father, who had no comment after the board meeting.
Tommy Johnson, 40, was a Mississippi Power employee. He died after being shot in the chest with a .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun during an argument with Beavers at the Half Time Sports Bar on Highway 11/80 West, according to the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department.
Little said feedback he has gotten from the community has been evenly split between those who want Beavers to return to his teaching position and those who do not.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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