Superintendent: Morristown teacher tied to controversy resigns

MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The teacher at the center of an investigation in Morristown has resigned, according to the Hamblen County Schools superintendent.

Earlier in the week, the Morristown Police Department and the Hamblen County School superintendent Dr. Jeff Perry confirmed that an investigation into possible misconduct involving a teacher at Morristown Hamblen West High School was ongoing.

Allegations of misconduct recently began circulating about the teacher, later identified as Bradley Bays, on social media.

"We were made aware of the allegations made on social media over the weekend," a police department spokesperson said. "We have assigned investigators and our internet crimes officer to look into the possibility that someone could be impersonating the teacher."

"There are two texts that were very concerning. Those texts contained lewd comments," Dr. Perry said.

A public meeting on Tuesday brought the concerns of the community to the board of education.

On Friday, Dr. Perry released a statement saying Bays at the center of the controversy had resigned, citing health reasons. The resignation was effective on March 15.

The statement said the teacher "voluntarily resigned his position after discussing the matter with central office staff."

"During the central office investigation, it was determined that Mr. Bays had no sexual or physical contact with any minor. At this point in the investigation and to our knowledge, there was no individual who even alleged that Mr. Bays had initiated physical or sexual contact with a minor. It is our understanding that local law enforcement uncovered no evidence of criminal activity at this time."

"However," the statement continued, "It was determined that Mr. Bays used extremely poor judgement and had sent a number of inappropriate and questionable electronic messages to former students who had graduated and who were adults."

"Mr. Bays stated to central office staff that his health-related issues may have clouded and impacted his judgement. During these times, he sent electronic messages to former students which were unprofessional and ill-advised." The statement said Bays "expressed sorrow" for his actions.

According to the statement, Bays is not allowed to have contact with current students and is banned from school grounds.

"Central office staff notified Mr. Bays the superintendent must present this matter to the Tennessee Department of Education licensure review committee per state laws."

The statement said Bays had been with the school for 18 years and taught a number of personal finance and economic courses.