Hardin school superintendent pleads not guilty

SAVANNAH, Tenn. (AP) -- The Hardin County public schools superintendent has pleaded not guilty to bringing a firearm onto school grounds.

The Jackson Sun reported John Thomas pleaded not guilty at a court appearance Monday in Savannah. The plea was accepted by Circuit Court Judge Charles McGinley, who then said he was stepping aside. Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Donald Parish will oversee the court case.

Likewise, District Attorney Hansel McCadams recused himself and the state attorney general has appointed Mike Bottoms, the prosecutor in the neighboring 22nd Judicial District, to present the state's case against Thomas.

The indictment returned March 19 charges Thomas with a felony count of bringing a gun onto school grounds.

The Hardin County school board voted to suspend Thomas with pay, once an interim superintendent is appointed.

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