KENNEDALE — It was a different kind of gossip that filled the halls of Kennedale High School on Wednesday.
“Did you hear about the teacher who just got arrested?”
Indeed, people had heard.
Kennedale police said Jason Tomlinson was arrested this week for allegedly putting a video camera in a faculty restroom.
According to the arrest affidavit, one camera was found when it fell from a hidden Velcro mount on a sink in a faculty restroom. A search of two other faculty bathrooms found two more Velcro mounts.
The affidavit said another Velcro mount was found in a bathroom in Tomlinson's home.
A review of the files on the camera found nearly three dozen videos of teachers using the restroom, and even had comments rating them as "good" or "fine."
He’s a football coach at Kennedale, a science teacher, and an alumnus of the school where he had been working.
His neighbor, Shunda Hardrick, is stunned.
“He’s a Navy man,” she said. “I never expected anything like that from guys who serve their countries.”
That’s the thing; the alleged crime is disturbing on its own. But the person being accused has deepened the shock.
By all accounts, Tomlinson was a gem. He was a football star at Kennedale who went on to play at the Naval Academy. Judy Campbell, a spokeswoman with the Naval Academy, said Tomlinson attended the academy from 2003 through 2007 but didn't graduate.
Hardrick and others said he's now married and a dad.
He started his job at Kennedale in January 2013, according to the school district.
But now he is in jail after a teacher found the camera and gave it to school administrators, who, in turn, handed it over to police.
Police Chief Tommy Williams said there was evidence that pointed right to Tomlinson. Williams said police seized items from Tomlinson’s home and office, including a log he kept of all the videos. Police will now go through all of it.
“Was it related strictly to footage of adults, or were there any students involved?" Williams asked. "Since it’s a mobile device, was it placed in any student restrooms?”
Sophomore Jon Gorka was a chemistry student of Tomlinson’s until recently.
“I was surprised it was him, because he’s nice,” Gorka said.
As of Wednesday night, Tomlinson was still in the Mansfield jail with bond set at $100,000. The school district says he was immediately put on leave.