Marianna High School Mourns the Loss of Long Time Teacher

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

Marianna- Marianna High School staff and students were still struggling with the past weekend's death of long-time teacher, John Summers.

Summers taught American history, Latin and had sponsored the yearbook class at Marianna High for the past 30 years. "It's rough on them" Jackson County Superintendent, Steve Benton said. "They all loved John Summers. Marianna High School was his life. That's all he lived for."

The circumstances leading to Summers death have troubled many. A friend found Summers' body in his Decatur Street home Sunday, fully clothed, lying in a bath tub full of water.

The medical examiner's office performed an autopsy, but results had not been released as of Tuesday. Investigators who responded to the scene believed Summers committed suicide.

Reportedly, two letters were discovered on the scene believed to be left by Summers. One note was instructed to be mailed to his mother, and the other to a college student he had been helping in Tallahassee.

His death came as authorities were investigating Summers for supposedly exchanging inappropriate text messages with a student.

"We did an investigation- Department of Families and Children, myself, the principal, and the resource officer- and it was all unfounded" Benton said.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office was also looking into the matter.

"The investigators reviewed that information and determined it was not something that required an immediate 24 hour response" Sheriff Lou Roberts said. "The students that were involved, or victims of the conduct, were 16 and 17 years old children. So, there was not an immediate threat. So our investigation was to commence on today, Tuesday."

Benton last saw Summers on Friday during the school's investigation.
"He was upset, naturally as anybody would be if you were accused of something you didn't do. But, we thought he was fine."

"Whether the allegations prove to be true or false, it still doesn't negate the fact that somebody, who worked there and has been there and dedicated their life to the students, is dead under unusual circumstances" Roberts said.

Benton told us a teacher from Jackson Academy had been transferred to Marianna High to finish out Summers' classes for the school year. He said they were working on hiring a new teacher for next year.

"We can replace a teacher" Benton said, but replace John? That will be hard."


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