Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

March 6, 2013

TMS band director loses his job

TAHLEQUAH — A five-year Tahlequah Middle School band director lost his job early Tuesday morning after six hours of testimony before the I-35 Board of Education.

TMS Band Director Justin Frazier apologized to TPS board members for issues that surfaced in January when he was taking prescription Xanax. He repeatedly denied accusations that he might have taken more than $1,000 from a band room in January, and asked the Board of Education to let him keep his job. He promised he would be willing to meet the recommendations set forth in a plan created by TMS Principal DeAnn Mashburn. He said he is no longer taking Xanax.

“I’ve always wanted to work at Tahlequah,” Frazier said. “It’s where I’ve always wanted to be.”

Frazier was arrested Friday, Jan. 18, in Muskogee County for possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of paraphernalia.

The hearing Monday evening marked the first time details of what led to Frazier’s arrest were made public. TPS Superintendent Lisa Presley had previously recommended the board terminate Frazier based on the school’s findings.

At Monday night’s hearing, TPS’ attorney – Karen Long, of Rosenstein, Fist & Ringold – indicated Frazier demonstrated erratic behavior in the days leading up to his arrest. Frazier showed up for class Jan. 16 with a bloody nose and hand, and was acting strangely, Long said. School administrators also argue Frazier had exercised poor judgment, and had been late for work several times.

Frazier admitted during his testimony he had lied on at least one occasion, and he apologized for doing so. He acknowledged that what happened at the school in January was “embarassing” to the district and to his family.

Frazier testified Monday night that he was “humiliated” and “horrified” when he fully understood what had happened in class Jan. 16. He admitted the Xanax he had been prescribed was having a bad effect on him – though he didn’t fully understand that at the time – and might have played a role in some of the decisions he made in January.

Frazier testified that on Friday, Jan. 18 – a day after he met with school administrators – he drove to Muskogee to get away. On his way home that day, his vehicle ran off the road. He later pulled over and got out to check his tires. A police officer pulled up behind Frazier to check on him, Frazier said.

“I was on Xanax; I wasn’t doing too good,” Frazier admitted. “All that is really kind of foggy. I remember being up against the car, being cuffed.”

According to testimony during Monday’s hearing, police found a loose pill in the back seat of Frazier’s car, along with a syringe. He produced a copy of his prescription during an arraignment in January, and charges were not filed against him.

School administrators said Monday that some amount of money – they believe about $1,010 – was taken from the TMS band room. School personnel testified Frazier called several employees on Saturday, Jan. 19, after he was released from jail in Muskogee, and gave varying reasons for needing to get into the band room. Frazier eventually got into the band room, and testified he placed an envelope with $60 of fundraiser money into the safe, then locked it and removed the key. He said there were no other envelopes in the safe, but there were some checks.

According to testimony from school officials, they went to the band room less than two hours after Frazier had been inside, and found seven empty envelopes in the safe. Each envelope should have contained $60, according to testimony given Monday night.

Frazier’s attorney, Shannon Otteson-Gosa, argued the school has “poor accounting procedures,” and said Frazier is accused of taking money only because the district found an “easy” fix to its problem.

“The school is just trying to sweep it under the rug,” Otteson-Gosa said. “It’s wrapped into a nice, easy package.”

She said it was clear Frazier was having issues with his medications, and school officials saw an opportunity to pin the missing money on him – to “put it all together, make it go away.”

“The school is trying to cover up for sloppy procedures,” she said. “The easy way out is to blame it on Justin Frazier.”

Board members went into an executive session just after 12:30 a.m. Tuesday morning and returned less than 30 minutes later, when they voted to accept Presley’s recommendation that Frazier be dismissed from TPS.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Stocks