Calvert Mid­dle’s Sup­port Per­son of the Year ar­rested

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By AN­DREW CEPHAS acephas@somd­ Twit­ter: @CalRecANDREW

A North Beach man em­ployed with Calvert County Public Schools was ar­rested Aug. 18 af­ter au­thor­i­ties al­legedly found mar­i­juana and codeine in his ve­hi­cle.

Taros Fletcher Har­ris, 31, was charged with pos­ses­sion of a con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stance — not mar­i­juana and pos­ses­sion of con­trolled dan­ger­ous sub­stance para­pher­na­lia, court records show.

Trooper R. Backus of the Maryland State Po­lice Prince Fred­er­ick bar­rack was on pa­trol in his marked MSP ve­hi­cle Aug. 18 near Main Street in Prince Fred­er­ick when he al­legedly ob­served a Lin­coln town car parked par­tially in the road­way, turn­ing from Main Street onto Church Street. Ac- cord­ing to the charg­ing doc­u­ments, Backus ac­ti­vated his emer­gency equip­ment and con­ducted a traf­fic stop to check the wel­fare of the driver.

Backus ap­proached the ve­hi­cle and made con­tact with the driver, Har­ris, be­fore sub­se­quently smelling a strong odor of mar­i­juana emit­ting from within the ve­hi­cle. A prob­a­ble cause search was con­ducted, re­sult­ing in the dis­cov­ery of 7½ grams of mar­i­juana and a 16-fluid-ounce pre­scrip­tion bot­tle of promet­hazine hy­drochlo­ride and codeine phos­phate syrup, the po­lice re­port al­leges.

Har­ris was re­port­edly not in pos­ses­sion of a pre­scrip­tion for the promet­hazine hy­drochlo­ride and codeine phos­phate syrup and was placed un­der ar­rest. Af­ter he was ad­vised of his Mi­randa rights and asked if he had a pre­scrip­tion for the drug, Har­ris said the pre­scrip­tion was at home and the bot­tle in his ve­hi­cle was a re­fill some­one else picked up for him. He then in­voked his right to re­main silent and not an­swer any more ques­tions. Har­ris was then trans­ported to the de­ten­tion cen­ter and the con­tra­band was pack­aged as ev­i­dence.

Calvert County Public Schools of­fi­cials con­firmed Har­ris is em­ployed at Calvert Mid­dle School as an in-school sus­pen­sion co­or­di­na­tor and also works as a de­fen­sive back coach for the Calvert High School foot­ball team.

A CCPS Facebook post from April iden­ti­fies Har­ris as last year’s sup­port per­son of the year for Calvert Mid­dle School. In ad­di­tion to the in-school sus­pen- sion pro­gram, Har­ris took over the boys’ basketball pro­gram as head coach and serves as a men­tor for the Ju­nior MAC Schol­ars pro­gram at Calvert Mid­dle, ac­cord­ing to the post.

Calvert County Public Schools Su­per­in­ten­dent Daniel Curry said he can’t dis­cuss an em­ployee’s spe­cific sit­u­a­tion, but de­scribed the school sys­tem’s prac­tice when an em­ployee is ar­rested or charged with a crime. Curry said the school sys­tem gets in­for­ma­tion from the po­lice when they be­come aware of an em­ployee who was ar­rested or charged with a crime.

“We have to then de­ter­mine if this is some­thing that would keep this per­son from be­ing ef­fec­tive at their job. There are cer­tain pro­vi­sions in our con­tracts that make ref­er­ence to your per­sonal life is your per­sonal life and not re­ally our busi­ness. We have to have an un­der­stand­ing of the charges and we make a judg­ment call about whether these charges would stop some­body from do­ing their job ef­fec­tively,” Curry ex­plained.

Curry said the school sys­tem usu­ally takes dis­ci­plinary ac­tions when an em­ployee is charged with a felony, but he said this is still de­pen­dent on the na­ture of the felony. Curry de­scribed a re­cent in­ci­dent where a CCPS em­ployee charged with a felony was sus­pended with pay un­til their court pro­ceed­ing. He said this de­ci­sion varies from case to case, as the school sys­tem also has the op­tions to sus­pend with­out pay or al­low the em­ployee to con­tinue work­ing un­til the case reaches dis­po­si­tion.

“We also have to take into ac­count that folks are in­no­cent un­til proven guilty. Peo­ple de­serve their day in court,” Curry em­pha­sized.

Calvert High School head foot­ball coach Rick Sneade said Har­ris is not a mem­ber of the coach­ing staff right now be­cause of the pend­ing case, but in­di­cated his po­si­tion could be re­tained “once ev­ery­thing is cleared up.” Har­ris played for the Calvert High foot­ball team from 1999 to 2002, dur­ing which time he was also coached by Sneade.

On­line court records show Har­ris is ten­ta­tively sched­uled for an Oct. 23 district court trial. At­tempts to reach Har­ris were not re­turned by time of press.

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