WACO, Texas — Waco Independent School District superintendent Al Marcus Nelson was arrested 10:58 p.m. Wednesday on a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana under 2 ounces, according to the Robertson County Sheriff's Office website.
Nelson was released from the Robertson County Jail at 10:25 a.m. Thursday on a $2,500 bond.
Texas Department of Public Safety was the arresting agency.
Waco ISD Board of Trustees president Pat Atkins released the following statement about the incident:
“Earlier today, the school board learned that our superintendent was arrested for a misdemeanor last night. We take this seriously, but we want to make sure that we have all of the facts before reaching a conclusion.
“We are calling a special meeting for March 19 so the board can hear directly from Dr. Nelson. With spring break next week, that is the first date when all of our board members are available.”
In an interview, Atkins also said Nelson's contract was just extended a few months ago.
Atkins said Nelson is a great educator, but the accusation is disappointing.
"Shocked, surprised... and obviosuly if the allegations prove true, disappointing," Atkins said.
As of Friday's interview, Atkins said there had not been discussion of termination or consequences for Nelson's arrest, but he was asked to take the day off as a personal day.
"He is the head of a district where 15,000 students trust everyday...and for a lot of those students he is a role model," Atkins said. "As a board and as a district we need to be very sensitive to the message we're sending to those groups of people."
Assistant superintendent of communications and community engagement Kyle DeBeer said a special meeting about the situation will be held at 6:30 p.m. on March 19.
A petition titled "Support OUR Superintendent" was posted on Change.org Friday, and it has more than 300 signatures.
"As parents and taxpayers supporting our children and Waco ISD, we respectfully encourage the Waco ISD school board to focus on Dr. Nelson’s impact on academic achievement and stewardship of Waco ISD," the petition said. "A misdemeanor should be treated exactly for what the dictionary says it is it is, a minor wrongdoing."
Expect more from KCEN Channel 6 as we continue to update this story with the latest details.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said the special meeting would be held on March 18. The ISD originally told us that was the date, but it clarified, saying one of the board members would be out of town on that day.