Tampa, Florida -- A substitute teacher was arrested Wednesday on outstanding drug charges at school, but how was he cleared to work at the school?
"The arrest was uneventful, students were never in any danger," was the phone message parents got Thursday from the principal at Davidsen Middle School regarding the arrest of substitute James Tobin.
Tobin, who was fired, was taken away in handcuffs from the school parking lot. Deputies say they already had a warrant out for his arrest for methamphetamine when they found him in the school parking lot on Wednesday morning. That's where they discovered more drugs inside his car. He appeared in court Thursday.
"He was on the approved list, we worked through Kelly Services. They do the same background checks we would do. He didn't have anything in his background that would disqualify him. He does now ... it is serious," said Hillsborough schools spokesperson Steve Hegarty.
School officials and law enforcement say a basic background check won't pick up on warrants. But an additional state and federal search can find them if they exist.
10 News asked Kelly Services, which cleared Tobin for employment at schools, about its background checks, and whether the company checks for warrants. Here is the company's response: Kelly Substitute teachers undergo rigorous screening and background checks according to state and district requirements.
The problem was when Tobin was cleared for employment before the school year, he did not have an outstanding warrant and only a couple DUI charges. The warrant was just issued last weekend, and there's no alert that updates the system.
Tobin is facing five drug-related charges total, including possession of meth, cannabis and drug paraphernalia. Bond was set at $32,500.
The school doesn't believe he intended to sell the drugs to students.