Bad teacher: Audit says TN instructor stole school money, bought booze

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog

NASHVILLE — A New Johnsonville elementary school teacher reportedly stole more than $11,000 from the school and used some of it on booze, according to an audit Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson released Thursday.

Humphrey’s County School Superintendent Jimmy Long told Tennessee Watchdog on Thursday that courts haven’t indicted the teacher, whom he identified as Heather Wardlaw.

“She no longer works for us,” Long said. “She resigned as soon as the allegations were made. We’ll have to see what happens. It’s an unfortunate situation.”

BEER MATH: How many beers can one teacher allegedly steal if the school credit card only has a certain balance on it?

According to her Google Plus profile, Wardlaw worked at Lakeview Elementary School as an art teacher.

Tennessee Watchdog reached out to someone with the same name who appears to be the same person, via her Facebook page, but she didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the audit, Wardlaw used a school Walmart credit card.

The audit said she bought alcoholic beverages, clothing, food, cosmetics, an iPad, DVDs and an Xbox Live membership. The charges on the credit card totaled $8,982.77.

As for the rest of the money, auditors reported that Wardlaw took advantage of her access to a debit card for a community K-8 basketball league known as the Vision League.

Auditors said Wardlaw admitted to the thefts and repaid $1,780 of it.

The audit also faulted elementary school personnel for their credit card policies.

“Lakeview Elementary has thirty-two Wal-Mart credit cards issued to teachers and staff. These employees keep the cards on their person for use at any time,” the audit said.

“Employees who use the cards usually turn in receipts for most purchases; however, we noted that administrative staff do not match these receipts to the monthly credit card statements or review the charges for appropriateness before paying the bill. This greatly increases the risk that personal purchases can be made on a card without detection.”

Comptroller spokesman John Dunn said in a statement that the 23rd Judicial District is reviewing the auditors’ findings.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org or follow him and submit story ideas on his official Facebook page.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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