ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Parents are shocked to hear a St. Johns County substitute teacher was arrested Friday for possession of child pornography. "It scares me. Yeah definitely," says parent Wendy Lindley. "I'm sad that they decided to go there," parent Jim Ferguson says.
Matthew Atkinson was hired just Tuesday by the school district. He taught a total of four days at three different schools: Mill Creek Elementary School, Ward Creek Elementary School and Gaines Alternative and Transition School. But the investigation of Atkinson's behavior actually started before he was hired.
According to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, their internet crimes unit was already investigating the illegal material on Atkinson's computer before he started on Tuesday. Now, he's facing five charges for possessing obscene material. Police say he will likely lose his job.
Action News received a statement from a St. Johns County School District Spokesperson Christina Langston. It says, "The Superintendent will be recommending Mr. Atkinson for termination at the School Board meeting on Tuesday, December 11th."
Parents are glad to hear it. They say, if he's guilty, behavior like this shouldn't be tolerated. "Fired, prosecuted. If it involves a student or a minor, put in prison," says Ferguson. "If they're doing that online. If they're hiding it. Theres intent," says Lindley.
The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says they're still investigating to make sure Atkinson's behavior didn't go further, than a computer search for child pornography. The school district also says they didn't know Atkinson was being investigated. They say he passed all the requirements necessary to become a substitute teacher.
Atkinson posted bond Saturday for $50,000.