|Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Desmond Blackburn said that he was appalled to learn of the arrests.|
BREVARD COUNTY, Florida - Two Brevard County Public Schools teachers have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession to distribute controlled substances, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida announced on Wednesday. If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
40-year-old Leonard Agee, Jr. and 36-year-old Benjamin Jenkins, both of Mims, were employees of Brevard Public Schools. Agee was an assistant football coach at Titusville High School and Jenkins was an instructional assistant at Imperial Estates Elementary School.
Both men were under investigation since 2015 until Agee allegedly sold heroin to an confidential informant. Jenkins is accused of selling illegal prescription drugs and cocaine to confidential informants since 2015.
Disciplinary documents from the Florida Department of Education shows that Agee had been arrested twice for drug possession. He elected pre-trial diversion to one of those charges in 2010 and plead no contest to the other charge in 2011.
The Florida Department of Education attempted to block Agee becoming certified as a teacher. However, the Education Practices Commission overruled that decision in 2015. Despite Agee's drug arrests and DOE's reservations about granting a teacher's certificate, Brevard Public Schools still kept Agee as an assistant football coach.
Jenkins plead no contest for felony possession of cocaine back in 2004, but was still hired by BPS as an assistant football coach and instructional assistant, according to court records and BPS personnel nomination records.
"We were notified today by local and federal law enforcement that two BPS employees were arrested and are currently in police custody," BPS wrote in a statement. "Based on the charges presented, both employees have been immediately relieved of their coaching duties at Titusville High School and instructional assistant responsibilities for the 2016-2017 school year. They have been placed on administrative leave pending termination recommendation to be approved at the regularly scheduled July 19, 2016 School Board Meeting."
"I cannot truly express how deeply appalled I am to learn of this egregious violation of our trust by people we employ to serve our students,” states Dr. Desmond Blackburn. “Our staff immediately took action to remove these individuals from their duties and I will work diligently with our human resources team to instill appropriate employment recommendations to ensure we safeguard our most precious resources; the students and families we serve.”
The drug arrests come on the heels of the arrest of Brevard Public Schools principal, Rick "Ricky" Delano Sheppard, for child porn earlier this month which BPS had promoted over the years despite knowledge of Sheppard's questionable conduct around children in the past.