Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday October 22nd 2014

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Outtakes 3/31/11

Note: Publisher Rick Outzen is taking a break from his column this week. Muckraker Walker Holmes has agreed to fill in for him.

ME AND MR. JONES Horace Jones is the unluckiest person in Escambia County history. The former defensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders and one-time principal of Pensacola High School had the misfortune of working as a school administrator under Superintendent Bill Maloy, instead of the new kid on the block, Malcolm Thomas.

Jones, who now works in the School District office as Coordinator of EEOC, had a problem with reporting bomb threats and sex offenses to law enforcement when he served as PHS principal from 1994-1996. Recently, Tate High School officials were accused by Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan of not reporting to his agency a suspected sexual assault.

Jones was investigated by a grand jury and removed as principal. Tate Principal Richard Shankle got a clean bill of health from Thomas and an endorsement from the editorial board of the daily newspaper.
Yes, Horace Jones is one unlucky son of gun. Bad timing, bad luck. He had a strict superintendent and a state attorney, Curtis Golden, who didn’t hesitate to take the case to a grand jury.

Jones was caught covering up 17 sexual assaults of a 15-year-old special education student by male students, eight of whom were on the PHS football team. The girl was serving an in-school suspension for skipping school. With Jones’ approval, that detention class was left unattended by the teacher, who was focusing on his duties as the championship football team’s weight coach. Law enforcement didn’t learn of the incident until a month after it happened.
His boss, Superintendent Bill Maloy, fired him for lax supervision, but later recommended him for a district post that paid nearly as much.

If only Horace Jones had worked under Malcolm Thomas, he might have avoided a grand jury, been praised for his “superb” communication skills and been exonerated by the daily newspaper. Yes, there is a big difference between a three-day delay and a 30-day one, but Shackle only had to report the assault because a parent notified the ECSO. The PHS parents took much longer to get to law enforcement. Apparently, Tate parents don’t have the same school spirit that PHS had in 1995.

Maybe the 1990s were too prudish. Maybe Maloy and State Attorney Golden were two uptight squares that were too straight-laced to look the other way or simply suspend the students and label the episode as just kids acting inappropriately.

Superintendent Thomas explained to the daily paper that the reason for Shackle’s delays in reporting the alleged assault was that the school officials failed to ask the ages of the victim (age 14) and the suspected assailant (age 16). Maybe that was Jones’ big mistake—he asked the victim her age.

Yes, Horace Jones is the unluckiest person I know.