|Updated: 5/30/2012 6:17 pm
||Published: 5/29/2012 6:29 pm
Two teachers in the Roger County town of Foyil are under investigation for crimes against children. Jeff Harris has been with the Foyil Public School District for more than 10 years, teaching history and alternative education, and coaching football. But now the 34-year-old faces three counts of lewd molestation of a minor.
A second teacher, who's also a football coach, is expected to be arrested soon on similar, but unrelated charges.
With only about 400 residents, the tight-knit community of Foyil was facing a dark reality Tuesday.
"It just slapped me in the face," Michael Cosgrove, 19, said. "Never expected any of this to happen like this."
Cosgrove just graduated from Foyil High School a few weeks ago, and said Coach Jeff Harris was the biggest reason he got to walk across the stage and receive his diploma.
"I had dropped out, and he caused me to come back, helped me come back and helped me graduate," Cosgrove said.
Cosgrove said Coach Harris is the last guy he expected would ever do something like he's now accused of.
"They were mentors," Cosgrove said. "Everybody looked up to them. Everybody just didn't see it happening."
"It really makes me sick to think I trusted my kids there," Roberta Powell said.
Powell's kids all had the two accused teachers, and now her grandkids are in the school.
"Everybody is just outraged by it," she said. "They're just sickened by it. And, really, I don't think anybody wants to believe it."
"These were guys that have been pillars of our community for years," Gene Evans said. "And not just the kids looked up to them. A lot of adults did, too."
Evans' youngest son just graduated from Foyil High, and always looked up to both coaches. He acknowledged that these things seem to be happening all over the country more than anyone would like, but said they tend to hurt much more in a tiny town like Foyil.
"It's just a trust issue right now that has been breached heavily," he said.
That breached trust is causing some to question the integrity of the school.
"[I've heard some] telling people that they're going to pull their kids out because it's not a credible school system anymore," Cosgrove said.
As members of the community wait for all the facts to come out, they're left asking the same question Cosgrove asked.
Jeff Harris is out of jail after posting $150,000 bond. Investigators confirmed he knew his accuser outside of his teaching duties at the school.
Foyil Public Schools Superintendent Mike McGregor told FOX23 News that the district has no official policy on teachers interacting with students on social media like Facebook. Although, students say there are signs in the schools saying students may not be friends with teachers on Facebook. It's still unclear of Facebook played any role in these cases. However, McGregor said the school board has already begun discussing plans to develop an official policy on such interactions.