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Bohemia Manor Middle School teacher focus of police, social services investigation

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CHESAPEAKE CITY — A Bohemia Manor Middle School teacher has been placed on administrative assignment amid a police and social services investigation into an unspecified matter involving that employee, according to notices posted Thursday night on the Cecil County Public Schools and BMMS Facebook pages.

“Throughout the day, we have been working in coordination with the Department of Social Services and the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office on the investigation involving a Bohemia Manor Middle School teacher. While we are not at liberty to discuss any details regarding the case, we can confirm that this teacher will remain on administrative assignment until the conclusion of the investigation,” the post on the BMMS site reads.

The BMMS notice was posted at approximately 6 p.m. Thursday, the same time that a similar notice appeared on the CCPS site. The post on the CCPS Facebook page is identical, except for the “Throughout the day” specification that opens the BMMS post.

As of Tuesday, some five days after CCPS and BMMS posted their social media notifications, the investigation was continuing, Lt. Michael Holmes, a Cecil County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, told the Cecil Whig. Holmes was not at liberty to comment on the case, beyond confirming that there is “an ongoing investigation” and reporting, “I will acknowledge that no charges have been filed.”

Kelly Keeton, a CCPS spokeswoman, informed the Cecil Whig early Friday afternoon that school officials are not at liberty to answer several questions asked by this news outlet about the unspecified matter that spurred the CCSO-DSS investigation — citing the ongoing investigation as the reason.

The questions were asked and answered in an email exchange between the Cecil Whig and CCPS, the format requested by CCPS.

CCPS responded, “Not at this time,” to the Cecil Whig’s question, “Are you able to specify what the allegation is or allegations are against the BMMS teacher?”

Regarding the Cecil Whig’s query, “On what day and at what time did the investigation conducted by CCSO and DSS start?,” CCPS replied, “We are not able to disclose this at this point in the investigation.”

CCPS offered the same response to the Cecil Whig’s question, “Did the investigation start after school officials contacted authorities or did someone else contact them. If someone else, can you say in general terms if it was another staff member, student or parent?”

To the Cecil Whig’s question, “Were CCSO deputies and, or, DSS agents at BMMS at any point during the investigation?,” CCPS replied, “It is standard procedure for both of these agencies to be involved in conducting the initial interviews.”

Responding to the Cecil Whig’s question, “What does ‘administrative assignment’ entail?,” CCPS replied, “While we cannot speak to this situation in particular, an employee is typically placed on administrative assignment during the course of an investigation. They are reassigned temporarily usually to one of our Central Office locations until the investigation is complete where they complete assigned work and do not have contact with students.”

This marks the second time in two days that CCSO deputies and DSS agents conducted an investigation relating to a CCPS school. The two investigations are unrelated.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. March 3, CCPS deputies and DSS agents started an investigation after learning that a 4-year-old student brought “numerous empty blue wax paper baggies” consistent with drug packaging into Bay View Elementary School and showed them to a few students at lunch, resulting in four or five students coming into contact with them.

Later in the day, parents took two of those pre-kindergarten students to Union Hospital in Elkton, where they were “checked for exposure,” according to Holmes.

CCPS officials reported in a letter emailed March 4 that they had “received confirmation that no child has tested positive for any exposure to drugs” and noted that, as is typical practice, CCPS, CCSO, Cecil County Department of Emergency Services and other partnering agencies would have received official notification from the hospital if a student had tested positive for exposure.

Deputies seized those questionable baggies as evidence after arriving at the school on the afternoon of March 3 and visually examined them, Holmes said, adding that “no suspected drugs or drug residue” was detected. Scientific testing of the baggies later in the day “did not provide any positive results” for drugs, he reported.

Investigators talked to the 4-year-old student and then went to that child’s residence, where they interviewed a parent and a guardian of that pupil, police said. They also searched the residence and did not find any illegal drugs or paraphernalia, police added.

As a precaution, a CCSO K-9 unit consisting of a handler and his specially trained scent dog scanned the entire school at approximately 11 p.m. March 3, according to Holmes. The dog did not detect the presence of any illegal drugs during that scan, Holmes reported.

No arrests had been made, as of Tuesday.

The story concerning the investigation relating to the BMMS teacher is developing. Stay tuned to cecildaily.com, as more details of this investigation are made available.

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