"Eric Elrod's contract of employment was not renewed for the 2011-2012 school year," according to a Gordon County Schools spokesperson. "His employment ended at the conclusion of that school year."
According to Bartow County District Attorney Mickey Thacker, Elrod was accepted into a pre trial diversion program for first time offenders.
"The great majority are misdemeanor offenses," said Thacker. "This is not a program where we go the route of proving they did do what they're accused of, it's an acknowledgement that something has gone amiss. They can go through the program and one they graduate their case is dismissed."
Elrod completed the program and all charges against him were dropped, according to Thacker.
A Sonoraville High School teacher and coach was arrested recently for marijuana possession in Bartow County, police reports stated.
According to Bartow County Sheriff’s reports:
Eric Elrod, 32, of Cartersville, was charged with misdeamenor possession of marijuana: less than one ounce and misdemeanor failure to signal while turning on April 9.
According to Bartow County Sheriff’s Deputy Matthew Beal in an incident report, Elrod was stopped while driving in his vehicle after he made a right hand turn without using his turn signal at the intersection of Griffin Road and Old Hall Station Road. In the report, the officer noted a “strong odor of suspected marijuana.”
“I asked Eric if he had any marijuana inside his vehicle and he said that he did,” Beal stated.
Elrod handed over a bag of marijuana and also admitted that he had smoked it before he left his residence, the report stated.
Elrod was transported to the Bartow County Adult Detention Facility and was later released to the Jail staff, according to the report.
As the head wrestling coach of the Sonoraville Phoenix, Elrod coached his team to its most successful season this year, finishing second at both the State Traditionals and State Duals. The Phoenix wrestlers were named the Rome News Tribune Wrestling Team of the Year and Elrod was named the Coach of the Year.
Superintendent Bill McCown of Gordon County Schools declined to comment about Elrod’s employment status because school officials are conducting an internal investigation.
“He has not been convicted. We are investigating the issues and handling it according to our policy,” McCown said.
Gordon County School officials base their decisions regarding personnel on the Georgia Professional Standards Commission Code of Ethics for Educators. According to gapsc.com, the code is “a guide to ethical conduct, behavior and educational profession. The code defines unethical conduct justifying disciplinary sanction and provides accountability.”
“Any misdemeanor offense that is NOT a crime of moral turpitude does not have to be reported,” according to the code.
Even if convicted, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is not considered an offense involving moral turpitude, as stated by the code.