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Jacksonville middle school coach fired after arrest in domestic disturbance

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville middle school coach was dismissed Monday after he was arrested over the weekend, the school district announced.

James Michael Coney, a full-time paraprofessional and football coach at Oceanway Middle School, had been under investigation in early October after allegations of inappropriate physical contact with a student during an altercation, according to the school district.

Coney, 35, who had been reassigned between Oct. 5 and Oct. 25 while the district investigated, was arrested Sunday in a separate incident and is accused of armed burglary and two counts of aggravated assault.

James Coney, 35, was arrested Sunday after he was accused of burglary and assault.
James Coney, 35, was arrested Sunday after he was accused of burglary and assault. (WJXT 2020)

According to a copy of Coney’s arrest report, police were called to his estranged wife’s home shortly before 6 a.m. Sunday in response to a domestic disturbance. The victim told police even though she and Coney are still legally married and have a son together, he hasn’t lived at the home for three years and doesn’t have a key.

It’s unclear what happened inside the home, as much of the report’s narrative is blacked out, besides some sort of confrontation. The report states that a knife or another cutting tool was involved in the dispute, and evidence technicians documented an injury to the victim’s forehead and damage to a doorway.

Police later reached Coney by phone and met with him at a neutral site. Exactly what he told investigators was redacted from the report. But he was ultimately taken into custody.

Kim Wright told News4Jax her son played sports at Oceanway. She was surprised to learn of the arrest.

“They set an outstanding example for the young athletes. They are tough on them, but fair. They really follow them academically. They don’t tolerate any kind of misbehavior," Wright said.

District personnel records show that Coney served as a part-time coach previously from July 2009 to April 2015 and then again from Oct. 28, 2019 through June 30, 2020.

Coney was working under the normal probationary status for new employees, the district said.


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