Trial of ex-county teacher on sex charges to begin Tuesday

Education Notebook

August 26, 2007|By John-John Williams IV

The trial for a former Howard County teacher accused of having sexual relationships with two teenage boys is scheduled to begin Tuesday in county Circuit Court.

Kirsten Ann Kinley, 27, who was a special-education teacher at Marriotts Ridge High School, was arrested Feb. 15 and charged with having sexual contact with a 15-year-old male student in late 2004 and early 2005 while she was teaching at Hammond Middle School.

In May, a second male student made similar allegations against Kinley. A grand jury indicted Kinley on three counts of third-degree sex offense involving that boy, who was 14 at the time of the alleged incidents in late 2004. Neither youth was one of her students.

Kinley was fired in May by the county Board of Education.

Meanwhile, the motions hearing for Joseph Samuel Ellis, a former teacher at Glenelg High School, is set for Oct. 31. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 2.

Ellis, 25, was arrested Jan. 8 and charged with having inappropriate sexual contact with several students last year. He is accused of exposing himself to a student in a classroom, sending suggestive computer messages to another and persuading a third to meet him at a park with the promise of alcohol.

Ellis was indicted on charges of sexual abuse of a minor, two counts of fourth-degree sex offense, indecent exposure, display of obscene material to a minor and telephone misuse.

He was fired by the school board in April.

Alan Meade Beier, 52, a former teacher at River Hill High School, will have a motions hearing Nov. 9. Beier, who taught chemistry and physics at the school, was arrested Jan. 12 after he was accused of undressing and photographing a 16-year-old boy in his classroom in January and fondling a 17-year-old female student on two occasions, most recently in the fall last year. He was later accused of having inappropriate contact with a third student.

Beier was charged with four counts of sexual abuse of minors, three counts of fourth-degree sex offense and four counts of second-degree assault.

Beier has appealed a recommendation by county Superintendent Sydney L. Cousin that the school board terminate his employment.

The trial for Alan Silberman, 62, a former Howard High guidance counselor who was accused of having crack cocaine in his vehicle at school, is set to begin Oct. 3 in District Court.

Glenelg brown bags

Students at Glenelg High are being advised to brown-bag it during the first few weeks of school.

The school's kitchen is being renovated, making it impossible to serve breakfast.

In addition, lunch will be prepared at Marriotts Ridge High School and taken to Glenelg each day. A limited-menu offering will be served at lunchtime until the remodeling is completed.

"I don't want them to get stuck in a line that goes on forever so that they do not eat lunch," Principal Karl Schindler said of his brown-bag lunch suggestion.

Schindler said he realizes the inconvenience, but he said the result will be worth the hassle.

"I am so pleased with the renovation to the cafeteria," Schindler said. "By adding additional seating to the school, you need additions to the cafeteria. The new kitchen will be able to serve more students more efficiently."

Glenelg is amid a $37.3 million capital improvement project that will add 400 classroom seats and will renovate the auditorium and cafeteria. The project is expected to be completed by the fall next year.

"It is such a good feeling for Glenelg," Schindler said. "They started the whole plan 10 years ago. It's great to see this through fruition."

Glenelg musical

While Glenelg's kitchen might be under construction, the school's musical is in tip-top shape, according to USA Weekend. The magazine honored Glenelg recently for staging the best high school musical in Maryland this past school year.

True Colors - The '80s Musical was performed in November at the school. The musical - set in New York City during the mid-1980s - includes hit songs from that period such as "What I Like About You" by the Romantics and Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors."

Schindler, who wrote a nominating letter for the award, said the musical is the best high school production he has seen in his 26 years in education.

"I was absolutely impressed with the entire production," the principal said. "It deals with some very critical, universal issues of acceptance, tolerance and understanding. It shows how diverse we've become as a society in the United States. We ask our kids to be tolerant and to honor each other's differences."

The musical was included in the Columbia Festival of the Arts, where it was among the most popular events, according to the school.

"Glenelg drama is excited to and honored to have had this year's production recognized nationally," Sue Miller, drama teacher and the production's director, said in a statement.

"This is an award for the Glenelg students, faculty, administration and community who came together to turn 103 pages of text and music into a critically heralded work of art," Greg Leader, who wrote the musical, said in a statement.

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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