A high school principal and assistant principal in Stamford, Connecticut, are facing charges after failing to contact authorities about a sexual relationship between a student and teacher that first came to light last December, according to police.
Police arrested 32-year-old English teacher Danielle Watkins in July after learning that she had been sexually involved with an 18-year-old student and supplied him with marijuana, authorities said.
Now, Stamford High School Principal Donna Valentine, 62, and Assistant Principal Roth Nordin, 59, are facing charges for allegedly failing to report the situation to authorities.
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According to police, "several independent sources" informed administrators of the relationship as early as December 2013. The school conducted its own investigation without contacting the Department of Children and Families.
Valentine and Nordin were arrested Thursday and charged with failure to report, a misdemeanor offense. Police began investigating the administrators in August.
Stamford Supt. Dr. Winifred Hamilton released the following statement Thursday in response to the arrests:
"The safety and security of our students is, and always will be, our top priority. 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. 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."
Stamford Mayor David Martin said in a statement Thursday that "the safety and wellbeing of the children in our community is our first responsibility."
"This is a reminder of the critical importance of working together to uphold our responsibility to the children and to the public. To that end, the community expects all people working with children to promptly report potential instances of abuse," Martin said. "We will be closely following the developments and hope the situation will soon be resolved."
Watkins is accused of having sexual relations with the student between September 2013 and June 2014 and threatened to fail him in her class if he broke off the relationship, according to police. She was subsequently placed on administrative leave.
Police continue to investigate the situation.