Junior high choir director resigns following outcome of harassment case

Dana Guthrie
Staff Writer

A Benton Junior High School choir director who pleaded no contest to harassing a female student earlier this year has officially resigned from his position.

Garry David Kirk, 63, of Benton, pleaded April 9 and was sentenced to one year of probation for the Class A misdemeanor. In addition to probation, Kirk received a suspended 30-day jail sentence. He will also be required to pay court costs and fees.

“These are the types of offenders that do not need to be working with children,” said Prosecuting Attorney Ken Casady. “I appreciate the efforts of the Benton Police Department.”

The charge was based on a complaint from a student who stated that Kirk touched and rubbed her back and buttocks area. Benton Police began an investigation in November 2017 after reports of similar allegations made by multiple female students.

The students did not feel comfortable going to class or being around Kirk because of his actions, according to Casady.
Kirk was placed on administrative leave by the district at the time of his court appearance, but according to the May 14 personnel report from the Benton School District, Kirk resigned effective at the end of the 2017-18 contract year.

The Saline Courier contacted the district for information on when Kirk’s administrative leave ended, along with the date he tendered his resignation, but has not received a response.

Joshua Johnson has been hired to take over the choir program.