Murphy High principal arrested, suspended amid allegations of misconduct


MURPHY, N.C. – According to a statement from Cherokee County (N.C.) Schools (CCS) issued Saturday morning, Feb. 10, Thomas Graham, principal of Murphy High School, has been suspended with pay from school duties in response to allegations of misconduct and Graham’s subsequent arrest Thursday, Feb. 8.

In the statement, Graham’s suspension came from CCS Jan. 26. “Mr. Jason Forrister has been acting principal during this time and will continue in that role as long as necessary,” CCS stated.

The statement from the school system continued to say:

“Cherokee County Schools has been working with local and state law enforcement agencies and has fully cooperated with their investigation. Because personnel matters are considered confidential under state law, CCS cannot make any further comment regarding Mr. Graham. Further it is imperative that CCS strive alongside law enforcement agencies to seek the truth and impart fairness to all parties involved … Student safety is the first priority of Cherokee County Schools and CCS takes the appropriate measures necessary to provide a welcoming and safe atmosphere for all students, staff, parents and volunteers. Cherokee County Schools would like to thank the state and local law enforcement officials for the professionalism they have demonstrated thus far. CCS will continue to work with law enforcement throughout the entire process.”

According to CCS, the law requires any suspension taking place during an investigation to be paid.

Graham, 45, was arrested by the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Thursday afternoon, Feb. 8, and later released from the Cherokee County Detention Center on a $2,500 bond.

According the booking report from CCSO, Graham is charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a student stemming from incidents occurring in January and February of 2016. Graham is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Murphy March 5, at 9 a.m.



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Jason Beck

Born in Merrillville, Indiana, raised in Cleveland, Tennessee, and currently resides in Copperhill, Tennessee. Graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1996 and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, eventually earning a B.A. and M.A. in English. Hobbies include hiking, camping and fly-fishing. Interests include baseball, hockey and cliff jumping.

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