Elementary teacher suffers apparent drug overdose Howard instructor was found by student

January 22, 1998|By Erin Texeira | Erin Texeira,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers Caitlin Francke, Dana Hedgpeth, Craig Timberg and Del Quentin Wilber contributed to this article.

A Howard County elementary teacher passed out in a school bathroom last week from an apparent drug overdose and was discovered by a student, Howard school officials said yesterday.

The teacher, a first-year prekindergarten and kindergarten teacher at Laurel Woods elementary, was found after school hours unconscious in a bathroom stall, Michael E. Hickey, Howard school superintendent, said.

Associate Superintendent James R. McGowan confirmed that the teacher is Garrett M. Bradley, 28, of Baltimore, who was charged in a Jan. 15 warrant with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. The incident occurred Jan. 14, according to paramedic records.

Hickey said the teacher is in a drug treatment program in Anne Arundel County.

"We have concern for this teacher, but our primary concern is for the children," he said. "There was no previous manifestation of this [problem] nor any impact on his teaching. He was regarded as a good teacher."

Donna Thewes, a North Laurel parent of a Laurel Woods fourth-grader, said: "I am furious with the school system that they didn't have the measures in place to prevent this from happening. It is intolerable to let anyone even slightly suspected of a drug problem to set foot in a school."

Thewes learned of the incident in a letter sent home yesterday from Principal Rosanne C. Wilson. The letter did not name the teacher.

The teacher was discovered when a male student in an after-school program at the North Laurel school heard snoring from an adjacent bathroom stall. The child summoned a teacher, who called emergency crews. Police also responded.

Firefighters arrived first to find the man face down in a bathroom stall, bleeding from the lips, with drug paraphernalia on the floor -- a hypodermic needle, a small burner and small spoon or ladle with crystal residue in it, according to an official who was at the scene.

The man was gasping and unconscious, according to the official, and paramedics placed an intravenous line into his neck to administer a drug that counteracts opiates.

The teacher was taken by the paramedics to Laurel Regional Hospital.

It is not clear whether the instructor, who has been placed on sick leave with pay, will return to work, Hickey said, adding that school officials are awaiting police action in the case.

"He will be reporting to me if he comes back and I'll make a decision at that time," Hickey said.

Pub Date: 1/22/98

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