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Petal Fifth-Grade Teacher Charged With Sex Crimes Against Minors

Authorities have charged Tyler Shows, an award-winning Petal, Miss., educator, with alleged sexual crimes against children. The charges include two counts of felony touching for lustful purposes and one misdemeanor count of dissemination of sexually explicit material to a minor.

Shows was a fifth-grade math teacher at Petal Upper Elementary School when he received the Milken Educator Award in 2022; the Mississippi Free Press featured him in an August 2023 Person of the Day article that recounted how he won the award.

Petal police officials confirmed that Shows waived his right to a probable-cause hearing scheduled for May 3 in the Forrest County Circuit Court. School officials charged with committing crime while performing duties are entitled to a probable-cause hearing to determine if adequate probable cause exists for the issuance of a warrant.

The former Petal Elementary teacher turned himself into police custody with his attorney on Thursday, May 2. His bond was set at $125,000. Shows was no longer in jail as of Friday.

WDAM reported that Petal Police Chief Matthew Hiatt spoke with them regarding the case. He was not in his office when the Mississippi Free Press contacted the station.

“When an individual is using their position of authority to gain an advantage on an individual, it doesn’t rest well with me at all,” Hiatt told WDAM. “Whether it be a teacher, a doctor, a firefighter, a police officer—we all swear to a code of ethics to live by integrity and values and morals. And when you have these kinds of accusations on anybody of authority it’s heartbreaking. It sickens, and it’s gut-wrenching, really.”

The investigation is ongoing. A judge has issued search warrants for Shows’ computer and phone and law-enforcement officials said they reserve the right to bring other charges if those searches produce other evidence.

The arrest comes after a months-long investigation. Petal police said the Petal School District launched the initial misconduct investigation in mid-January. The police department began its criminal investigation in February. Petal police said there have been questions about the length of the process but that it is important for the

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