School Officials Speak Out About Student Imposter

by Diane Tuazon
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - The entire Permian High School community is disappointed to learn that they've been lied to by someone pretending to be one their own students.

He was a star athlete, helping Permian High school win basketball games, but little did everyone know 16-year-old Jerry Joseph was really, 22-year-old Guerdwich Montimere.

"I'm just in awe, he was my friend, I don't know what to think anymore," Permian Student, Darren Broughton, said.

After school officials received an anonymous e-mail saying the star athlete wasn't who he said he was, authorities began investigating.

That's when they discovered he was really 6 years older than he was pretending to be and a naturalized citizen of the U.S., not a Haitian orphan as he claimed.

"The whole basketball team and athletic team looked out for him, but unfortunately we were  tricked by someone who knew the system," ECISD Athletic Director, Leon Fuller said.

Many students wonder how an imposter was able to get pass the school system without having any suspicion of what was going on.

"The school needs to fix something; I don't feel comfortable with going to school with a 22-year old," Permian Student, Muniz Casariz said.

School officials say, there's only so much they can do when it comes to looking into a students background without breaking any laws.

"It's a very difficult situation and we are embarrassed, we're going to look back at what we can do, but our hands are tied by laws. It states we can't be obstacles when enrolling in school," ECISD spokesperson, Mike Adkins said.

"We're going to do everything we can in the future to prevent it. I hope that any kids aren't turned away, but we'll have to be careful with this situation," Fuller said.

We're told Montimere gave the school a fake birth certificate. Under the law, a school district must enroll a student, even if they don't give the school district a birth certificate, an ID, or school records. 

Unfortunately because of all this, Permian High school will now have to forfeit any games Montimere played in.