The plot thickens in Stamford today. In an on-going investigation, an 18-year-old student filed a complaint that his English teacher threatened to flunk him if he did not continue to have a sexual relationship with her. More eye-witness reports say that the teacher, Dannielle Watkins, would provide the teenager with marijuana (both on and off school property) and engage him in sexual acts in her car (off school grounds). When the 18-year-old went to police to inform them of her threats, they located over 2000 text messages from her to him… including nude photos. The 32-year-old teacher has spent a considerable amount of time in psychiatric and drug rehab facilities in Connecticut since her arrest this past July. Her fate is yet to be determined, but today it is the administrators that are being scrutinized.
Stamford High School Principal Donna Valentine and Assistant Principal Roth Nordin turned themselves into police today when they learned that there was a warrant out for their arrests. Under Connecticut law, administrators have 12 hours to report any allegations of abuse to the Department of Children and Families. According to the allegations, they both knew of this situation six months before the initial arrest was made. Some are saying that they were trying to investigate internally. Their failure to notify officials, if true, means that the inappropriate relationship continued for an additional six months. According to the student, he and his English teacher had begun their sexual relationship in September of 2013.
That means that all that sexting, pot smoking, and sex was going on for a full school year before the arrest was made.
If these allegations are true, this is just as much a crime as the act itself. It’s the administrators sole job to protect the students and this situation is the ultimate betrayal. How could they have possibly turned their backs knowing this was happening under their watchful eye?
Stamford Superintendent of Schools Winifred Hamilton released a statement:
“An arrest of this nature is unprecedented in our district, and until all of the facts are known, the administrators in question will be placed on administrative leave without prejudice, as is the standard procedure when such allegations are made,” Hamilton said. “Once all the facts are known, we will take the opportunity to look closely at our practices and training to determine whether we should make changes in our processes going forward.”
Time will tell what happens with this mess. I’m sure this will make for a very entertaining Parent’s Open House this week.
Source: Stamford Advocate