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Meridian High School teacher suspended

By By Georgia E. Frye / staff writer
Sept. 17, 2003
Ernest Smith has been suspended from his teaching job at Meridian High School after police charged him with a felony over the weekend.
Smith teaches chemistry at Meridian High School.
He was charged with possession of a firearm on educational property stemming from a Sept. 2 incident at Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus. Smith, 75, allegedly followed several juveniles onto campus and then fired a handgun into the ground.
Detective M.J. Hoadley of the Meridian Police Department said Smith went voluntarily to the police station Friday evening after learning that a warrant had been issued for his arrest.
Sylvia Autry, interim superintendent, said she did not learn of the incident until Saturday. She would not say if Smith was suspended with or without pay.
Autry said Smith's classes were taught by a substitute teacher Monday afternoon and Tuesday, and the district is negotiating with a retired chemistry teacher to take over until the situation is resolved.
John Compton, attorney for the Meridian School Board, said the case is expected to be presented to a Lauderdale County grand jury in November.