The School Teacher Who Couldn’t Cope

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' blog post #125As you read this, it’s likely your children, grandchild, nieces, or nephews may be back in school. It’s hard to keep up with the varying school start/stop dates across the US.

My grandchildren are back in school. And I’m back on the lookout for anyone suspicious who’s lurking near, working at, or attending schools, hopefully, you are too.

BLOG POST #125: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a high school teacher.

Monday Morning Dread

It was Monday morning when a local 911 call center received a call from someone who said there would be a shooting and explosion at three area schools. Law enforcement was dispatched to the schools. All three were evacuated and searched finding nothing suspicious.

The 911 call center attempted a call back to the number from where the original call was made, but nobody answered the phone.

You Can’t Outsmart Law Enforcement

The exigent circumstances allowed law enforcement to request AT&T to do a trace on the number. The phone had been turned off, so no information was available.

Investigators searched businesses in the area that had received a call from the number and traced the phone use to a school teacher who worked for the district receiving the threat.

Later, the teacher confessed to making the call on his way to work and tossed the phone in a trash receptacle. You probably thought only children make fake threat calls.

Serious Repercussions

He pleaded guilty to one charge of communicating information about a false bomb threat on school property. And he relinquished his teaching credential.

Court documents showed the teacher used illegal drugs and suffered from emotional issues such as depression. He was sleep deprived, having marital issues and difficulty with his newborn child.

Before sentencing, the state district judge said, “bizarre and probably out of character. I don’t find you’re a violent person by nature.”

The judge ordered him to serve 65 months in prison with all but 20 months suspended. And he was likely eligible for parole after four months.

The judge also sentenced the former school teacher to three years supervised probation and 100 hours of community service following his release.

Here’s my ‘Take Away’ in this case: The teacher had to have shown signs of exhaustion, depression, maybe even drug use. And I’d bet money he told one of his colleagues he was having marital troubles. I’m not blaming school staff, but in their best interest, they need to pay attention to coworkers’, students’, parents’ behavior, and when they see a negative change, no matter how small, it could be a clue to something bigger down the road, offer help. If the behavior is troubling, tell a supervisor. Luckily, in this case, no physical harm was done. Although there was a significant cost of time and support services from law enforcement.

What do you think about this case? Your relevant comments about this post or any of the other posts are always welcome on the website.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thank you for reading my post and for caring about children!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

Should School Teachers Be Drug-Tested?

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #120Why aren’t school teachers drug tested? I don’t know of any school districts requiring teachers to pass a drug test, before or during their employment. If you know of one, please email me with the district name and location.

Schools typically require safety-sensitive positions, such as a bus driver, to pass a pre-employment drug test. And more often than not bus drivers are also required to undergo periodic and random drug and alcohol testing.

BLOG POST #120: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving a 27-year-old second-grade school teacher with a drug problem.

A Classic Case

Too often a person prescribed pain medication for an injury of some sort becomes a drug addict. Their physician stops treatment, but the addiction remains. And then they turn to illegal drugs to self-medicate.

Teachers are not immune to the downward spiral of drug abuse.

As with most drug users, they get sloppy either by choice or by accident, and then they get caught.

Busted!

The second-grade teacher used a co-worker’s computer to access Facebook where she had communicated with someone on Messenger about using and selling heroin. She left the Messenger program open. The co-worker found it and reported what she’d read to her administrator.

The school administrator removed the teacher from her classroom and called the police. In the police interview, she admitted to drugs in her possession. She also admitted to pawning two of the district’s iPads for drug money and stealing from ‘field trip money.’

Her purse contained Methamphetamine, Heroin (described as black tar) and a sublingual film identified as Suboxone, a prescription medicine used to treat adults who are dependent on opioids.

She also had multiple empty and loaded syringes some with exposed needles, multiple small empty plastic baggies, multiple small broken and empty balloons commonly used to store narcotics, and two bent metal spoons with burn marks.

Her Life Is Forever Changed

Days before her arrest, she submitted her resignation to take effect approximately two weeks later, one day after the school’s final day of classes. During the interim, the school placed her on paid administrative leave.

The former teacher accepted a plea agreement and pleaded guilty to drug possession and embezzlement. The judge sentenced her to 10 years in prison and payment of restitution.

She lost her career and at least ten years of her life to drugs.

Her prison term may be reduced if and when she completes a program designed to help women deal with drug addiction.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

This Teacher Received A Lucrative Income From Her ‘Pretend’ Grocery Store Business

***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***

Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.

Robin Lyons' Blog Post #116Hello! It may not seem like it, but I have high regard for school teachers. Just spending all day ‘on stage’ sounds exhausting. And then they teach to different intelligent levels, different learning abilities, different discipline and support levels. Everything is uncontrollable factors influencing the outcome.

It takes a special person to be a teacher. The pay is relatively low, and the reward is short lived as the students move on to the next grade, and the task begins anew.

When a teacher crosses the line, it’s always surprising and disappointing. It makes me think that person should never have been a teacher in the first place. I believe administrators choose to ignore warning signs or in this case clues of wealth.

BLOG POST #116: This week, I’m sharing research on a specific criminal case involving an elementary school teacher.

You Won’t Get Rich On A Teacher’s Salary

The teacher was one of sixteen people who participated in a scheme to defraud the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps and WIC – Women, Infant, and Children).

She went into business with two other people; a father and son. Together they owned and operated one of the thirteen ‘pretend’ grocery stores in the scheme.

“The defendant scammed federal food programs, swindled American taxpayers and literally took food out of the mouths of children,” said the U.S. Attorney in a statement.

Living The Good Life

Here’s how the fraud worked: They opened a grocery store, it never had anything in it. The store owners canvased impoverished neighborhoods offering to pay cash for their food stamps and WIC vouchers. They paid $.10-.60 on the dollar. Then they submitted the food stamps and vouchers to the state for reimbursement dollar for dollar – keeping the difference.

Between 2009 and 2011, her store fraudulently processed more than 10,000 cards and vouchers totaling more than 6 million dollars.

In court, her attorney said his client thought it was a legitimate investment opportunity.

And Then It All Came Crashing Down

She was found guilty of conspiring to use interstate wire communications to execute a fraudulent scheme and conspiring to launder money.

The judge sentenced her to 14 years in federal prison and ordered her to pay more than $8 million in restitution. And three years of supervised release after her sentence is served.

Because she was unable to pay the restitution the judge allowed her to make modest payments while incarcerated. She will pay substantially more after her release.

At her sentencing, after the U.S. District Judge had said it was hard for him to understand how someone like her could get involved in such a scheme, he added, “Except for one thing that is true in every fraud case I’ve ever seen — greed.”

She’ll be 54 when she’s released from prison.

Worth mentioning: She submitted a motion with the court to stay the order to garnish her state retirement fund. Her motion was denied.

Also worth mentioning: She made an appeal for a reduced sentenced based on several issues, one issue was the two co-conspirators who were the brains behind the scheme and pleaded guilty were given less than five years in prison. Her original sentence was affirmed.

What do you think about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.

Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

Link to AmazonMAC: A Prequel NovellaFind out what Cole ‘Mac’ MacKenna  is up to in

UNKNOWN THREAT and MAC

Both Available at Amazon

Nobody Suspected the School Principal was Living a Double Life

double-life-fbBLOG POST #86: This week I’m sharing my research on a 33-year-old elementary school principal who had a side business of selling drugs.

The month-and-a-half long investigation began with an anonymous tip about the former school principal’s brother. A search of the brother’s home found heroin and methamphetamine. From that drug bust, law enforcement learned of the former school principal’s involvement.

Law enforcement conducted a search at the home he shared with his wife and young son. They seized enough heroin to make more than 800 capsules. Methadone was also found. Nothing indicated he sold drugs to school students or staff.

He pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and received a 10-year prison sentence beginning with a 120-day treatment program. With time served in jail, the county prosecutor estimated he would serve 8-to-9 months. He will have a permanent conviction on his record which should prevent him from working with children.

Worth mentioning: The month before the bust, the school principal submitted his resignation. It was unclear if he knew of the pending bust or if he had secured a position in a different school district.

Two months before the bust, the school principal threw his hat in the ring for a vacant city official position in the upcoming election. He said he wanted to see someone in the post that would ensure needs are heard and met. On his candidate platform he stated his responsibilities at the elementary school would have remained a priority, but his goals as an elected official would have included connecting with the community and representing his constituents to the fullest of his ability.

What are your thoughts on this case? Do you think the sentenced was just? Do you know of a school crime that you feel others should know about? Send me an email and we can discuss the details.

Thanks for reading!

-Robin

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