ARAB — The Banks-Caddell Elementary principal placed on paid administrative leave until his contract ends June 30 has reached a plea agreement in Arab Municipal Court that could result in no jail time for two domestic violence charges.

The agreement also requires that David McCollum, 40, have mental health counseling. He faces a third charge, for domestic violence harassing communication, that was continued until Nov. 15 for further evaluation on the cases in the plea deal. His cases were heard Monday in the Arab court.

McCollum was charged with three counts of domestic violence involving two victims. One case was domestic violence unlawful imprisonment and domestic violence third-degree and the other was DV harassing communications.

McCollum was accused of hitting a woman on her “shoulder, head and arms,” and not allowing her to leave his residence.

Arab police officers responded to the call March 14 at McCollum’s residence on Fairway Drive, but he had already left the residence by the time police arrived.

Arrest warrants were later issued and McCollum was arrested at his residence on April 8.

Under the plea agreement, McCollum was sentenced to 90 days in jail with 80 days being suspended, a $500 fine, court costs and two years of probation.

If he completes the following within six months, the jail time will be dismissed:

• No contact with the victim.

• Commit no new criminal offenses.

• Complete an intensive mental health program.

• Complete mental health counseling and follow all recommendations of mental health professional.

• Cannot possess or own any firearms.

McCollum’s last day of work at Banks-Caddell was March 12. A letter from Decatur City Schools Superintendent Michael Douglas, dated March 19, informed McCollum that he had been placed on indefinite paid administrative leave, “pending the outcome of an investigation into potentially problematic interactions on your part with faculty members at your school.”

The letter also states that while McCollum is on leave, "you should not report to work, be on the premises of any Decatur City Board of Education property, or participate in any school district activity without my express permission.”

The Decatur City school board voted on March 26 to accept Douglas' recommendation not to renew McCollum’s contract for the 2021-22 school year. McCollum's three-year contract expires June 30.

Angie Whittington, who retired as principal at Woodmeade Elementary last year, was approved as interim principal at Banks-Caddell Elementary this month by the Decatur school board. 

Before becoming a principal in Decatur, McCollum served as principal of Brindlee Mountain High School and Brindlee Mountain Primary School in Marshall County.

He also was one of five candidates granted interviews by the Arab Board of Education two years ago during the board’s search for a superintendent. Johnny Berry, who had been principal at Decatur High, was eventually hired to lead the Arab schools.

The Decatur school board voted in June 2017 to hire McCollum at Banks-Caddell on a one-year probationary contract at the recommendation of then-interim Superintendent Dale Edwards. The board gave McCollum a three-year contract in June 2018.

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