Filmed Teacher Loses Job

Article excerpt

Freedom Area School District officials planted a hidden camera in the office of a high school health and physical education teacher to catch him snorting crushed pills and giving a student a pill to inhale, New Sewickley police said Tuesday.

"When a situation like this presents itself, it is my responsibility to fully investigate and take whatever action is necessary. That's what I did in this case in order to protect our students," Freedom Superintendent Jeffrey Fuller said.

Upon handing in his resignation in the superintendent's office, James C. Summers, 41, of Darlington was arrested and charged with drug paraphernalia possession and corruption of minors, police Chief Ron Leindecker said.

Summers remained in the Beaver County Jail, unable to post a $200,000 bond set by Beaver County Senior District Judge John Armour.

Police got information during the week of Nov. 12 about "misconduct" relating to Summers, Leindecker said, but it was too vague to pursue. Police notified the district, and officials there installed a hidden surveillance camera in Summers' office, Leindecker added.

In each of four videos, taken from Nov. 19 through Nov. 21, Summers is seen crushing and inhaling a pill through a small tube.

In a fifth video, Summers crushed a pill, gave a student a tube and allowed him to inhale the substance, according to a criminal complaint written by New Sewickley Officer Tom Liberty.

The district turned over the videos to police on Friday.

On Monday, with the school closed for the first day of hunting season, police searched Summers' office and found a plastic tube and powdery residue in a drawer of Summers' desk, Liberty wrote. Leindecker said tests are being conducted to identify the substance and determine whether additional charges against Summers are warranted. …