Shiloh Elementary principal arrested on drug charges

Published 12:56 am Friday, May 25, 2012

SARDIS — Third-year Shiloh Elementary principal Aaron McKinley was arrested Thursday and charged with possession with intent to distribute hydrocodone, as well as a charge of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone.

The charges were placed on McKinley after U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agents and members of the Selma Police Department’s drug unit arrested him shortly before noon.

According to a release from the Selma Police Department, the arrest stemmed from a joint investigation by the DEA and the Selma Police Department drug unit. During the investigation, the release said, McKinley was reportedly observed selling the two prescription drugs to an individual while on school property.

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“We came about some information through our investigations and interviews from the February drug sweep and that is what led us to begin our observations,” Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley said. “There’s no evidence he sold any of these drugs to students that we’ve found. These were individuals who he quite possibly hung out with on occasion.”

McKinley was not arrested on Shiloh’s campus in Sardis, but was instead arrested on the 400 block of Lauderdale Street in downtown Selma.

“We did not want to arrest him at the school,” Riley said. “We wanted to get him away from the school at all possible and we were able to make that happen.”

The arrest, not only shocked the Sardis and Orrville communities, but Dallas County Board of Education leadership was having trouble accepting the news Thursday evening.

“We are both shocked and saddened about the allegation involving Mr. McKinley,” Dallas County Superintendent of Education Dr. Fannie Major-McKenzie said, reading a prepared statement. “However, we will take the necessary steps to protect our students and the reputation of the Dallas County Board of Education.”

In her statement, McKenzie announced Shiloh assistant principal Jackie Avehart will take over as chief school administrator for the last week of the school year.

“Any and all questions needing the response of the school administrator should be directed to Mrs. Avehart,” McKenzie said in ending the statement.

In addition to the statement, McKenzie said Avehart was a qualified and experienced educator and administrator.

More charges might still be placed on McKinley after he allegedly “acknowledged that he had purchased a vehicle he felt was possibly stolen.” A check of his vehicle, a 2006 Chevrolet pickup, found that it had been reported stolen in Thomasville in September 2008. It was recovered Thursday afternoon on Pecan Drive.

Riley said more charges would be coming in connection to the stolen truck.

Shiloh Elementary School provides classes to grades three through sixth and includes Dallas County’s sixth grade academy. The school has a student population of 174 students according to school officials.

McKenzie said McKinley was a long-time employee of the Dallas County Board of Education, working at Keith, Tipton and Shiloh during his 13-plus year career.

Riley said McKinley was transported to Mobile for arraignment in federal court.

“From there they will see if he will get a bond,” Riley said. “He has no criminal record, so most likely they will give him a bond.”

As for the ongoing investigation, Riley said investigators are still looking into how he was able to get these prescription drugs to sell and how long he had been distributing.