T-Shirts Support Former Teacher Accused of Sex Crimes
A former teacher accused of child abuse has divided the town of Lavaca. Many openly support Jack James and now some are raising money to help him with legal fees. Others are outraged and believe James’ supporters have gone too far.
“I haven’t seen them, but I’ve heard about them,” said Jennifer Keele, a parent.
Support Jack James t-shirts and bracelets are now on sale in Lavaca. Proceeds will help pay for the former teacher and city leader’s legal fees. James is accused of child abuse.
“I don’t think that that is something that anybody should be raising funds for, especially in that situation,” said Sabrina Kendrick, a parent.
Police arrested James in August. He is accused of making a student expose himself and asking other kids to do the same. Arkansas State Police say James told an 8th grader he wanted to perform sex acts with him. Despite the charges, James has widespread support in the community.
“He didn’t seem inappropriate to me, to any of the students that I had in my class,” said Rocky Williams, a former student.
The t-shirts now on sale read “I Support Jack James” and the bracelets say “We Got Your Back Jack.” 5NEWS was told kids are wearing the items to school.
A parent of one of the alleged victims says he called the Arkansas Department of Education and the superintendent to try and get the shirts and bracelets banned from the classroom.
5NEWS reached out to the people selling the bracelets and t-shirts. They refused to talk on camera Thursday out of fear of retaliation.
5NEWS asked people if they intend to purchase the t-shirt or bracelet. “I won’t personally, but I know people that will,” said Keele.
“I believe it’s a good thing. I believe I’m gone help out too,” said Williams.
“No I will not be buying a shirt,” said Kendrick.
Supporters say they will also host a bake sale and yard sale this weekend in support of James.
James is due back in court Nov. 7.