A 25-year-old English teacher finishing his first year at a Howard County high school was arrested yesterday and charged with selling marijuana to a student. It was the teacher's second drug arrest since Friday, police said.
Fred L. Davis of Laurel, a teacher at Hammond High School in Columbia, told police that he sold one gram of marijuana, worth about $20, to a student several weeks ago, according to police charging documents.
Police said they began investigating Davis in May after the student's parent found e-mails in which the teenager asked the teacher for marijuana. The e-mails were sent in March, police said.
Police searched Davis's home Friday and found a pipe and a plastic bag of marijuana under a coffee table, according to a police report. Davis was arrested at his home and charged with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.
Later, Davis admitted to selling the drug to a student outside school grounds, police said. He was charged yesterday with two counts of distributing marijuana, which carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison or a $15,000 fine. He also was charged with one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Davis did not return a phone call to his home yesterday. He was released yesterday afternoon, the Associated Press reported.
Officer Jennifer Reidy said police are still examining whether Davis sold drugs to other students. She added that Davis seemed to be the only teacher under investigation.
"At this point, it does not appear that any other teachers were involved at all," she said.
Patti Caplan, spokeswoman for the school system, said Davis did not go to work Friday or yesterday.
He has been placed on paid administrative leave until the school completes its own investigation, she said. Possession and distribution of drugs is a firing offense, she said.
"This is a pretty serious offense. Then again, we want to make sure that he's given due process," Caplan said.
Caplan also said the student had not been disciplined because the incident allegedly took place off school grounds.
Amy Cohen, mother of a Hammond senior, said parents were just learning of the charges last night and were surprised. But she said she had confidence that school officials would handle the situation appropriately. "I hope that, if it turns out to be true, this is an isolated incident," she said. "This is in no way reflective of the community at all."