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Muncie Community Schools will do its own background checks as former contracted security officer charged

Jasun Thomas criminally charged with 3 felonies, 1 misdemeanor
Muncie Community Schools will now conduct its own background checks on school security job candidates prior to them being offered a position, WRTV Investigates has learned.
Posted at 11:00 AM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-04 18:37:10-05

MUNCIE — Muncie Community Schools will now conduct its own background checks on school security job candidates prior to them being offered a position, WRTV Investigates has learned.

The change comes as the Delaware County prosecutor formally charged a man Wednesday who worked as a contracted security officer for Muncie Community Schools.

Jasun Thomas is charged with intimidation where the defendant draws a deadly weapon, two counts of dealing marijuana with a prior drug conviction, as well as driving while suspended with a prior conviction.

Prosecutors allege Thomas went to a home on Wheeling Avenue on Nov. 29 to sell $200 worth of marijuana and while he was there he was “pointing his pistol at the ground in her direction, he was telling her he could shoot anyone and get away with it because he has a clean record.”

In an interview with police, Thomas said the woman “may have seen the pistol because his coat pocket was unzipped.”

Delaware County prosecutors filed the charges, three felonies and a misdemeanor, on Jan. 4, records show.

Thomas was an employee with Legacy Life Security Solutions, the security company that contracts with Muncie Community Schools.

Thomas was fired following his arrest, according to the owner of Legacy Life Security Solutions Robert Scaife.

Court records show prior to the alleged drug deal Thomas messaged the woman, “I’m doing security at the middle for the basketball game I’ll hit you when I leave.”

However, Scaife says Jasun Thomas was not scheduled to be working at the time.

Thomas started working for Legacy Life Security Solutions in July 2022, and was assigned to Muncie Southside Middle School.

Court records show Thomas pleaded guilty in 2018 to two misdemeanors— False Informing and Possession of a Controlled Substance and was sentenced to a year probation and 50 hours of community service.

Internal emails obtained by WRTV Investigates reveal Delaware County prosecutor Eric Hoffman’s concerns about the privatization of school security in Muncie.

In a Dec. 1 email from Hoffman to Muncie Community Schools superintendent Dr. Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, Hoffman also raised questions about Thomas’ criminal history.

“I was assured by MCS and the security company that there would be a thorough and proper vetting process for anyone that applies for a position as a school security guard,” wrote Hoffman. “However, that does not seem to be the case. Mr. Thomas has a criminal record.”

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While Thomas also had previous arrests for driving while suspended, Hoffman said he was most concerned by Thomas’ conviction for false informing and drug possession.

“How did a person with this record make it through the vetting process and become an armed MCS security guard?” wrote Hoffman. “I find this deeply troubling.”

Hoffman then submitted a list of questions to Dr. Kwiatkowski including asking how security guards are vetted.

“I have a deep concern for the safety of our school children and their teachers,” wrote Hoffman.

In her response, Dr. Kwiatkowski emphasized that Thomas was not on duty during the alleged illegal drug transaction.

“LLSS (Legacy Life Security Solutions) employees are subject to the same background checks required for all our contract service providers in accordance with Muncie Community Schools Police,” wrote Dr. Kwiatkowski.

The school superintendent said the district will be making changes.

“Prior to this incident we relied on our vendors to be responsible for screening their employees to comply with the policy cited above,” said Dr. Kwiatkowski. “However, moving forward, MCS will also now conduct its own background check on any LLSS job candidate prior to him/her being offered a position.”

Robert Scaife, owner of Legacy Life Security Solutions, told WRTV that all current employees are free of any convictions (excluding traffic violations) over the last nine years.

One employee was convicted of two misdemeanors—one 14 years and the other 12 years ago, and one other LLSS employee had a misdemeanor conviction that was more than nine years ago, said Scaife.

“I assure you that all our employees are thoroughly screened prior to being hired,” said Scaife in an email to WRTV. “We evaluate candidates on several criteria, including any prior criminal records.”

Dr. Kwiatkowski stands behind Legacy Life Security Solutions and owner Robert Scaife.

“They have a passion to ensure the safety of MCS students and staff, and we have received numerous compliments on their job performance across all our schools since they began providing our security at the start of the school year,” wrote Dr. Kwiatkowski. “In the case of Jasun Thomas, Robert realized there were past infractions, but also knows Mr. Thomas’ personal history and had seen over many years how he had overcome some very difficult life circumstances to get himself on a good path and become a family man. He believed Mr. Thomas would stay on that path moving forward, which is why the allegations are so disappointing on many different levels.”

Scaife provided a similar statement to WRTV regarding Thomas.

“We believed Mr. Thomas had moved past his previous legal issues, but that appears not to be the case,” said Scaife. “This is an unfortunate situation for all involved. We will learn from this experience and be better for it.”

Dr. Kwiatkowski said she is open to supplementing LLSS’s efforts with uniformed officers and has reached out to the Muncie Police Department and the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department.

WRTV reached out to both agencies.

“I have had communication with Mr. Scaife, owner of the security company providing security for the Muncie Community School Corporation and told him that we will respond in the event of a large-scale emergency,” said Delaware County Sheriff Tony Skinner in an email to WRTV. “But, as for the day-to-day security, we do not provide those services.”

Muncie Police have not yet responded to questions from WRTV.

"We regret the reputational impact this incident may have on our school partners, but it has not changed the passion or dedication we have in providing security for them, and we appreciate their support," said Scaife in a statement to WRTV. "Our team loves this community, and we will work through this together."

Scaife said the employee was immediately suspended from his position following the arrest, with termination expected pending formal charges.

"While the incident occurred during his personal time and not in his capacity as a security professional, I am obviously disappointed that it occurred at all," said Scaife. "As a long-standing member of the Muncie community, I am completely dedicated to providing our local schools with the best security possible, which includes having the finest employees who are properly trained and exhibit outstanding character.

On May 24, Muncie Community Schools announced it was partnering with private security firm Legacy Life Security Solutions.

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The total cost of using the outside security firm is $675,000 a year.