Keshequa Teacher Arrest: How was the district notified?

Updated: 04/02/2014 6:40 PM
Created: 04/02/2014 6:08 PM WHEC.com
By: Rebecca Fath

Parents in the Keshequa School District are still wondering how a music teacher who was arrested months ago, accused of having several bags of heroin was allowed to continue to teach their kids.

Danielle Conner-Willowglade has recently been placed on administrative leave after her latest arrest.  This time, investigators say she stole instruments and then pawned them for drug money.

News10NBC spent the day with parents in Nunda. They say it's difficult to accept that a single letter was mailed from the New York State Education Department to the school about this teacher's arrest. But the state education department says it is just following the law.

Katrina Spencer has three kids. She says one had Danielle Conner-Willowglade as a teacher for five months after Willowglade was arrested for heroin possession. The superintendent said last week that she was still on the job because he was never made aware of Willowglade's arrest.

Donald Covell, Keshequa Schools Superintendent, said, "We did not receive it.  I would have remembered it if she had come in, because she's our teacher.  I'm not going to cover up. What in the world would I be doing that for?  We did not receive it."

But the New York State Education Department says a letter about Willowglade's arrest was sent, leaving many wondering, what happened?

Katrina Spencer said, "It's a very unreliable system that they have.  It's very irresponsible.  I don't know what code they follow if they're supposed to follow up."

According to the state law, when a school employee is arrested, a letter of notification must be mailed immediately.

The New York State Education Department said in an email to News10NBC, “Notifications regarding arrests of school district personnel are sent via first class mail with the full expectation that they will be delivered and received in a timely fashion. There is no follow-up phone call."

But many parents think there should be.

Sabrina Dietz, parent, said, “I think they should email it, they should send it certified, first class, and call.”

Spencer said, "They shouldn't have just let it go with one letter.”

News10NBC asked to see the letter the state education department sent. They say they'll let us know soon if we can get it.

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