NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Metro Nashville Public Schools teacher is accused of secretly recording at least 40 elementary students as they changed clothes in a closet at Napier Elementary School in South Nashville.
According to Metro police, a two-week investigation into Jarrett Jones, 30, began after he asked a colleague at Antioch High School to help him with a computer problem.
When the colleague saw the questionable items on the computer he notified authorities.
“We train our staff to report anything suspicious,” said Dr. Shawn Joseph, Metro’s Director of Schools, during a press conference with police Monday. “Most of our 11,000 employees do the right thing. In this case at Antioch High School, we had a staff member who did just that.”
Police say the secretly-recorded videos were taken while Jones was a music teacher at Napier Elementary between 2011 to 2015.
After placing a hidden video recording device in a closet near his classroom, Jones is accused of instructing young girls to change clothes inside before school plays or choir performances, Metro police said.
While searching the 30-year-old’s home, several pieces of digital equipment, including an external hard drive, were seized. On the hard drive, detectives said there were more than 50 videos in a folder titled “Napier.”
Police said after analyzing the videos, detectives identified the majority of the 40 girls who were secretly recorded at the Nashville elementary school. There are still more victims who need to be identified.
There were also more than 1,000 sexually explicit images of minors that appear to have been downloaded from an external source unrelated to Napier Elementary on the hard drive, according to Metro investigators.
Jones was placed on administrative leave by Metro school officials on Sept. 9 when the investigation began. He was taken into custody Monday at his Antioch home.
He faces charges of two counts of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of minors and three counts of sexual exploitation of minors. He is being held in lieu of a $100,000 bond.
The state has filed a motion to increase the bail.
Metro police say additional charges are anticipated.
Metro Nashville Public Schools responds
A statement from the school district Monday said after reviewing the police report, school officials will recommend to Director Joseph that Jones be dismissed from his position.
“The teacher has had no contact with students since being placed on leave,” the statement said, in part.
“We are devastated by the news of this investigation and are doing everything we can do help Metro police and the District Attorney, the statement continued.
“Obviously this is a very difficult and sensitive situation and we will respect our students’ and families’ right to privacy as police and the DA pursue this matter.” Click here to read the full statement.
Mom of child once in Jones’ music class reacts to arrest
Yolanda Fleming came to Napier Elementary moments after she received a news article about her daughter’s former music teacher.
“I’m like, ‘That’s him.’ I knew it. I knew something was wrong with him,” the mother told News 2.
She explained her daughter had a strange encounter with Jones three years ago when she was kindergartner at Napier.
“One day my daughter came home and told me, ‘Mr. Jones the music teacher made me sit on his lap,’” Fleming recalled, adding, “My daughter should not sit on any man’s lap. I mean, I was furious.”
Fleming said she went to the principal, but nothing happened.
“I’m not shocked by him doing this because I felt uncomfortable with him from then on after that,” she explained.
Fleming told News 2 her daughter had roles in some of the plays Jones put on for the school.
“They would always have us bring what they’re going to wear and yes, they’d always go into the closet and change,” she said.
Parents like Fleming are left reeling after the disturbing news.
“I need to talk to someone to see what I need to do to make sure if she’s in those videos, those tapes,” she said. “You don’t know if this stuff is on the Internet or what. This is my child. This is my everything and I’m very uncomfortable.”
Metro police are urging parents to contact them if they believe Jones may have recorded them. Police say they do not believe he touched any students, but the investigation continues.