Support Salvation Army Wildfire Relief

Students support Randolph County teacher accused of sexual battery

ASHEBORO, N.C. -- Dozens of students gathered at Southwestern Randolph High School in support of former teacher Jarret Elliott.

Elliott has been charged with sexual battery of a student. His first court appearance is scheduled for May 8.

According to the search warrant from the Randolph County Courthouse, the alleged incident took place on April 24 on school property.

The warrant reports, “there is probable cause to believe that on or about the date of offense shown and in the county named above the defendant named above unlawfully and willfully did for the purpose of sexual arousal engage in sexual contact, by grabbing the buttocks of student juvenile victim.”

The victim’s name is not listed because they are protected as a minor.

Students wore T-shirts and held signs, many of which said, “Free Elliott.” Students describe him as a friend, role model and great coach.

Elliott posted his $5,000 bond on the same day he turned himself into authorities on April 27.

Lt. Col. John Reid, with the Randolph County Sheriff's Office, said that during the student demonstration 17-year-old student Michael Anthony Taylor was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for resisting delaying and obstructing officers. Reid said he continued to block the roadways after being asked several times by deputies not to do so. Taylor has been released by the magistrate after promising to appear for a court appearance scheduled for May 15.

Reid said the investigation into the sexual battery charge against Elliott is “ongoing.”

District Superintendent Stephen Gainey sent this statement in response to the students' display of support:

“Despite some circumstances not associated with a regular school day, the staff members at Southwestern Randolph High School did a great job of maintaining a focus on instruction and the regular operation of the school day.”