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Clayton educator pleads guilty to stalking

By Linda Looney-Bond

lbond@news-daily.com

A Clayton County high school teacher pleaded guilty to felony aggravated stalking in Clayton County Superior Court.

Derrick Jackson, 50, a health and physical education teacher at North Clayton High School in College Park, entered the plea Tuesday.

Following Jackson's plea, Superior Court Judge Albert Collier sentenced him to three years on probation. He ordered Jackson to pay a $400 fine, $300 toward the indigence defense fund, approximately $350 in attorney's fees for his court-appointed attorney, as well as standard monthly probation fees.

The judge also put in place a permanent protective order barring Jackson from having contact with the victim. "No sending her flowers. No nothing. Just forget she exists," Collier told Jackson during the plea hearing.

Jackson, who has served 50 days in the Clayton County Jail, appeared in court wearing a red inmate jumpsuit, and chained at the ankles and wrists.

He was arrested March 10 for violating a temporary protective order barring him from contacting his ex-girlfriend.

Jackson violated the original protective order on March 6, by continuing to contact the victim by phone and sending flowers to her at work, according to an arrest warrant.

According to court records, the victim said Jackson had also harassed her by coming to her residence uninvited, and continually making phone calls, "saying I need to watch my back."

In the petition seeking the original protective order, the woman also stated that Jackson "made a comment about doing harm to my children. I have recordings," she said.

Jackson, who is a one-time assistant basketball coach at North Clayton High School, was placed on administrative leave without pay in March, according to a school spokesperson. In March, the spokesman said school officials would monitor the court proceedings before making a decision about Jackson's future with the school system.

Following Tuesday's hearing, Jackson's attorney, Malcolm Wells, said, "We were hoping the case would be dropped to a misdemeanor, obviously it was not."

"This was the best decision for him. He has plans of trying to get his life back together," said Wells. "He's been locked up for 50 days. He's trying to figure out how to keep his apartment, how to pay next month's power bill -- the basics."