Before magic mushroom arrest, gun offense didn’t get teacher fired
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Well before a Josey High School teacher was arrested on suspicion of growing magic mushrooms at his home, he was arrested for firing a gun in the air outside a local nightclub.
The Richmond County School System knew about it and kept him employed there anyway, according to newly released personnel files that News 12 requested under Georgia’s open records laws.
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The school district gave Booz, then a first-year teacher, a letter of reprimand for the 2019 gunfire incident — calling the incident “unprofessional conduct” — but didn’t fire him.
He was ordered to go on paid administrative leave for a time, according to the letter, and the incident was reported to the state professional standards commission.
Meanwhile, he pleaded guilty to reckless conduct, was fined $300, ordered to perform 20 hours of community service and was placed on probation for a year, according to court records.
The school district issues this statement Thursday on the matter:
“The Georgia Professional Standards Commission has policies that school districts are required to follow regarding disciplinary action and termination of contracted, licensed school employees. If an employee is arrested, the Richmond County School System conducts a thorough investigation and follows the Georgia Professional Standards Commission requirements for due process and reporting possible Code of Ethics for Georgia Educators violations.”
Booz continued working for the district until his drug and weapons arrest this year on Aug. 26, the day after a search warrant was served at his home in the 3000 block of Happy Drive.
He has since resigned from the post as an environmental science teacher at Josey.
According to his personnel record, he was hired at a job fair and had no previous work in any school system. He did, however, work as a gas attendant at a Sprint convenience store, according to his personnel file.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology after attending Alabama State University, where he maintained a grade-point average of 2.2, according to his personnel file.
After he finished his time at Alabama State in 2018, the district in August 2019 offered him a job and requested that the state allow him to teach before he earned his teaching certification, since his degree was not in education.
READ THE PERSONNEL FILE:
Arrest warrants released after Booz’s Augusta apprehension allege that:
- Booz unlawfully manufactured hallucinogenic psilocybin mushrooms. Deputies found them in a sealed clear 32-quart storage container next to the water heater in the laundry room, according to authorities. Next to the container, an investigator also found fertilizer, base and other materials associated with a mushroom grow. In addition, a grow tent was found in a rear bedroom, according to an arrest warrant.
- Booz unlawfully had under his control marijuana with intent to distribute. A sheriff’s investigator found it in four black zip-lock bags on the living room couch. The investigator also found a digital scale on the island in the kitchen, with more marijuana.
- Booz had under his control about 11 grams of powder cocaine with intent to distribute. The substance was found packaged in a small zip-lock bag in a drawer and on top of the stove in the kitchen.
- Booz had under his control a green Glock 17 handgun during the commission of a crime.
- A member of the sheriff’s narcotics and gang division found a Micro Roni Gen 4 gun silencer at the home.
Booz was charged with possession of a silencer, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, manufacture of hallucinogen and possession of firearm or knife during a crime.
In the 2019 reckless conduct case, Booz was accused of firing three rounds into the air after several men surrounded him after his arrival at a nightclub, according to the letter of reprimand. He’d followed his girlfriend and another man there after they’d been at another nightclub earlier.
No one was hurt in the incident.
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