Harris is arrested again

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 1, 2003

Southside High School Vice Principal John Harris has been arrested for the second time in as many weeks on a misdemeanor charge of harassment.

Harris, who has been on administrative leave since April 10, was arrested Wednesday after turning himself in to Dallas County Sheriff’s deputies. He was released after posting $1,000 bond.

The warrant for his arrest was signed by a student at Southside. The warrant alleges that Harris touched the student in a sexual manner after calling the student into his office and closing the door. The incident allegedly took place in September.

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Harris was arrested April 16 after another student at Southside and his mother signed a warrant alleging that Harris borrowed $15 from the student and told him, &uot;If I don’t pay you back, I will pay you back physically.&uot;

Harris posted $1,000 bond in the earlier case also. According to the warrant, that incident took place in December.

Harris is a defendant in a $45 million lawsuit filed Dec. 3 by former Southside teacher Barbara J. Barge and three others at the school, including an unnamed student. The lawsuit alleges that Harris touched that student in a sexual manner.

Barge’s contract was later terminated by the Dallas County School Board after a student secretly tape-recorded a conversation between himself and Barge in which she reportedly used graphic sexual language and made derogatory remarks about several county school board employees.

Barge maintained at her termination hearing before the school board that she used graphic language in an effort to determine whether Harris had sexually abused the student. The Alabama Tenure Commission later upheld her dismissal. She has announced plans to appeal her dismissal in Dallas County Circuit Court.