Liberty Tech teacher pleads guilty to being drunk at school event

JACKSON, Tenn. — A teacher at Liberty Technology Magnet High School pleaded guilty Thursday to being drunk at an on-campus event.

James Cotton

James Cotton pleaded guilty in court Thursday to public intoxication and consuming/possessing alcohol on school property.

“Mr. Cotton’s voice was slurred,” Madison County General Sessions Judge Hugh Harvey Jr. said. “Had a strong odor of alcohol coming from his person. He was unsteady on his feet.”

Investigators said Cotton was drunk Monday night while working a basketball game at Liberty Tech. According to an affidavit, Cotton admitted to drinking before the basketball game and also admitted to having alcohol inside his car in the school parking lot.

“Three empty beer bottles, one partially full bottle, and two empty bottles of Rolling Rock beer were found inside the passenger side floorboard,” Harvey said.

The school system released the following statement:

“It is the practice of Jackson-Madison County School System to not comment specifically regarding personnel matters involving the District; however, we take all allegations of faculty, staff, or student misconduct seriously. The District investigates all such complaints thoroughly and takes any action deemed necessary and appropriate for the situation.

The Jackson-Madison County School System holds all staff to the highest level of standards of performance within our organization and expects all employees to conduct themselves in a manner that instills pride, professionalism, and integrity in our schools and provides our students with a quality education.”

The judge ordered Cotton to pay two $50 fines plus court costs. He also gave the teacher a 30-day suspended sentence for each count. “Just stay out of trouble for the next 60 days and get this paid,” Harvey said.

Cotton did not want to talk on camera but did say he wants to apologize to school leaders, his teaching peers, students and the community of Liberty Technology Magnet High School.

Cotton also said he is seeking treatment.

We asked the school district about Cotton’s employment status. They did not get back to us.

Categories: Crime, Local News, News