Pensacola, Florida
Sunday August 19th 2018

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‘What Happened Over at Camelot?’

By Jeremy Morrison

The Escambia County School Board was in a workshop when the story made the evening news. Vice Chairman Jeff Bergosh was still in sweet oblivion the next morning.

“I guess I better ask the question, ‘What happened over at Camelot?’” Bergosh said, his tone dampening after hearing the answer. “Really? Wow. Oh, wow.”

It’d been more than a month, but in early November the revelations were still fresh.

“You got me flat-footed, man,” Bergosh said.

On Sept. 22, something had happened at the Camelot Academy. It wasn’t clear exactly what. The teachers weren’t saying too much.

“The Superintendent has told us they’re investigating what was heard on the news last night,” said School Board Chairman Bill Slayton.

According to Escambia County Sheriff Office reports, the incident began when a teacher at the school requested that a student hand over a cellular phone. But then what happened?

“We hope the charges will be dropped and that will be that,” said Kirk Dorn, a spokesman based at Camelot’s corporate headquarters.

According to the sheriff’s reports, a male juvenile was sitting in class when Jamal Tillery, a teacher at Camelot, told him to hand over his cell phone. The two left the classroom, where a verbal argument ensued. Eventually, another staff
member, identified as Andrew Maxwell, entered the scene and the student relinquished his cell phone.

At that point, the student claims that Tillery punched him in the head and a physical altercation ensued.

The staff members then escorted the student to the Tiger Shark room, an area where students having a disciplinarian issue are placed. Once there, the student admitted to officers, he took off his shirt and threatened to fight the teacher.

The student claims that another teacher, Henry Calhoun, then grabbed him from behind. The teacher allegedly restrained the student’s arms from behind. While held, the student told officers that Tillery began punching him in the face and stomach. When Calhoun released him, the student said he fell to the floor, where Tillery proceeded to kick him in the stomach.

The student also claims that Tillery picked up a trash can and hit him with it two or three times as he lay on the floor. The sheriff’s report noted that the juvenile complained of abdominal pain and was limping.

Deputies spoke with the student about a week after the alleged incident. A few days after that, on Oct. 3, they spoke with Maxwell and Calhoun.

Maxwell told deputies that he had approached the student and Tillery as the two discussed the cell phone. He stated that he thought the student might have tried to hit Tillery, but that he did not actually see that happen because he was not facing that direction. He said that a physical altercation ensued and that the student was then taken to the Tiger Shark room, at which point Maxwell exited the scene.

Calhoun reported to officers that he was setting up tables in the Tiger Shark room when Tillery entered with the student. After witnessing the student become aggressive, Calhoun said he restrained him.

When asked if Tillery had struck the student with the trash can, Calhoun told officers that a trash can would not cause the type of injuries the student complained of. When asked if Tillery hit or kicked the student while he was restrained, Calhoun said that he was not ready to discuss it. He would not answer any questions pertaining to his coworker’s actions while the student was restrained.

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