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Central’s Helton assigned to teach at FHS

Joel Helton’s sticky situation, costing this highly acclaimed high school football coach a teaching position he’s held for more than 25 years, has landed the veteran educator at Farragut High School.

Helton will never coach again at a Knox County public school, according to documents authored within the past week following two findings of misconduct and one other allegation of misconduct at Central High School.

Helton, football head coach at CHS from 1984 through 2010 before recently resigning, has been transferred to Farragut as a teacher after a Knox County Schools Human Resource, Security and Finance department investigation.

That investigation, begun in early November 2010 when Helton was placed on administrative leave, concluded misuse of discipline at CHS through the use of, and threats to use, a “stick.”

“Based on witness statements obtained during the investigation and your own admissions, I have determined that you did on more than one occasion strike members of the Central High School football team with objects that can be generally characterized as ‘sticks’ ... ,” according to a Letter of Reprimand authored by schools superintendent Dr. James P. McIntyre Jr. and sent to Helton Feb. 3.

Beginning his duties at FHS Monday, Feb. 7, and remaining at least through the current school year, Helton is “co-teaching advanced phys[ical] ed[ucation] and advanced weightlifting,” FHS principal Michael Reynolds said, adding “a position was transferred from Central to Farragut ... that has to be created” at FHS.

McIntyre’s letter said Helton’s new position at FHS represents “the opportunity to correct your behavior.”

Reynolds said about KCS Human Resources’ decision, “I can’t see them assigning him in a teaching capacity if they weren’t comfortable doing that.”

Though not addressing the controversy surrounding Helton, Reynolds said the ex-CHS coach-teacher has a “strong reputation” and is considered a


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