Former Petal teacher released on bond after being charged with two counts of crimes against children

By HASKEL BURNS,

The former Petal High School teacher who allegedly had inappropriate communications with a high school student has posted bail after facing two counts related to that incident.

According to court documents, 27-year-old Christopher Thames was arrested on a warrant Friday and charged with one count of exploitation of children and one count of touching for lustful purposes: gratification/molestation. His bond was set at $200,000 – $100,000 on each count – which was posted less than an hour after he was booked.

Matt Dillon, superintendent of the Petal School District, said high school administrators were made aware last week of the communications between the teacher and the student, which took place over social media. The investigation into the allegations was initiated immediately afterward.

Because the matter is the subject of an ongoing investigation, as well as a personnel matter, further details cannot be released.

“Our faculty/staff are held to a very high standard,” Dillon said in a statement issued Friday. “Any time inappropriate behaviors are suspected or reported, they are investigated fully and appropriate actions are taken. Our top priority continues to be the well-being of our students and staff.”

Students and parents are encouraged to report any suspected inappropriate behavior to district personnel through the district’s anonymous texting service at (601) 300-6336 or its anonymous suggestion box email at suggestion.box@petalschools.com.