In St. John, Indiana, 24-year-old English teacher Samantha Cox got herself arrested at school just hours before the week ended for Thanksgiving break.
On Wednesday in the late morning, a student caught the new teacher at Lake Central High School snorting drugs in a classroom where she thought to be hidden from view.
While in between classes, Will Rogers, a junior at the school, saw Cox through a window and captured a video on his phone of his teacher taking drugs in plain sight. She can be seen sectioning off lines of white powder for a while and then bending over them.
Initially, the students watching could not see what Cox was doing. It later became obvious she was administering drugs. Rogers guessed it was cocaine and reported the incident to school officials with video proof in hand.
Upon investigation, the teacher was arrested and taken to jail. She will face “charges of possessing a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.” Cox’s bond was set at $10,000, which she posted the same day.
Through the help of a K-9, investigating officers also found in her possession straws, aluminum foil, and baggies. With Cox’s permission, they found more drug accessories in her car, including a glass pipe.
In an interview with police, Cox admitted to her drug use and said that that morning she had “purchased $160 of ‘dope cocaine.’” She also mentioned that her usual time to do drugs was after school, but due to withdrawals, she used during school hours. Police initially suspected the powder to be cocaine and heroin. Cox has apparently been using for over four years.
Though she committed a felony on school property, the teacher will receive a paid leave of absence “while the case is investigated.”
The school says they are worried about her, and the district does not blame Cox entirely, but the “systematic issue in our country” that is drug addiction.
The students who came forward as witnesses to the incident are being praised for their bravery. They acted efficiently and didn’t get involved, but reached out to adults they could trust. Though the students could have protected their teacher or not reported her right away, they knew it was the right thing to do for Cox and for the wellbeing of the school.
Lake Central High School and St. John police also handled the situation swiftly and as discretely as possible as to not traumatize students further. The incident also served as a teachable moment to students as it opened a discussion about the seriousness of drugs in society. Though unfortunate, Cox’s arrest brought the school community together as they vowed to address the issue together like a village.
Staff at the school praised Cox up until the incident, calling her likable and “a very good teacher.” She was also an excellent student in college. Behind her charismatic and professional demeanor though, she obviously had a serious problem.
It is commendable that the school took quick and serious action in response to the teacher’s behavior. This sent a clear message of their zero-tolerance policy for drugs on campus. Cox served as an example of what would happen to drug users caught at the school, and it would not make one appear “cool” as the media often suggests.
The student who recorded the video of the teacher also posted it to YouTube where it has already gone viral. This may be a helpful tool in addressing drug problems in schools throughout the rest of the country.
Thankfully, this type of incident is not the norm of Lake Central High School, and it was appalling news for students and parents alike.
“We love our school a lot. And for something like this to happen, it’s just, it’s very unusual,” said a student at Lake Central.
Also fortunate is that the incident was not a sex crime where a student is victimized, as is usually the case in teacher scandals. Ms. Cox will have to work through her issues, but at least the students were kept safe at all times.
It is disturbing that the high school students in Lake County, Indiana had to see their teacher not behaving as an ideal role model. Samantha Cox was not thinking of her students and the responsibility in her duty as an educator when she acted poorly. However, it is important to note that the students were aware that the teacher’s actions were wrong and knew how to address it. This reflects positively on the parents and teachers of the students for raising responsible young adults.