Arrested for Drunk Driving, Local School Official Apologizes to Students

By: Tony Tagliavia Email
By: Tony Tagliavia Email

"It was the wrong choice," Jackson High School Athletic Director Russell Davis told students Friday.

That wrong choice came on March 14th when Davis was pulled over for speeding. Thinking he might be drunk, officers breathalyzed him. Prosecutors put his blood alcohol level at .098.

"And he was arrested," Jackson Public Schools spokeswoman A'Lynne Robinson said.

Just about a month later, at a student assembly already scheduled to discuss "good choices," Davis asked students whether they'd heard about his ordeal. Most of the students raised their hands.

He says he is trying to use his example to show students there are real consequences to actions, despite what he called a culture that permits alcohol use by teens.

"If you understand what's going on in my life, you understand that these are bad choices," Davis said.

With prom just a week away, administrators say they hope the message about drinking will be stronger coming from someone the students know.

"He works with the students regularly and we thought it was important for him to own the fact that this was a bad decision," Robinson said.

That decision suprised some students like senior football player Marshawn Selby.

"He's been a real good figure around here," he said.

Selby says hearing about the consequences of drinking and driving from a man he knows does send a strong message. But some parents say they wonder what message the actions of an athletic director send in a district with a zero tolerance policy for its athletes.

Robinson says the district is hoping parents with concerns will attend Monday's school board meeting. But she says administrators are waiting to consider any punishment.

"We have a court case pending before he is convicted of anything," she said.

Not convicted in a court, Davis is willing to admit his mistake openly.

"Don't let my example go in vain," he told the students.

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  • by Tracy Location: Jackson on Apr 14, 2007 at 11:03 AM
    I was disheartened to read that there may be disciplinary action taken by the school district following the consequences given by the court. Mr. Davis certainly made a poor choice, but did the choice happen during school hours? What happens on personal time should remain a personal issue, not an employer issue.
  • by Colleen Location: Mason on Apr 14, 2007 at 05:17 AM
    I commend Mr. Davis for being open and honest with the students. Honesty is all too often a rare attribute these days. It seems like more thought is given to how actions are going to affect the out come for the individual. Mr. Davis is thinking about how his actions are going to affect the students. What a refreshing change. A bad choice by someone the students respect may vary well be the example of what the real consequences are. I wish him well and hope the students and parents use this as a learning opportunity.
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