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Charges filed against Lake Central teacher accused of snorting drugs in class

The Lake County prosecutor’s office has filed charges against a Lake Central English teacher accused last week of using drugs in her classroom.

Samantha Cox, 24, of Cedar Lake, was formally charged on Monday with possession of cocaine, a felony, and possession of paraphernalia, a misdemeanor, according to Lake County court records.

Officers were called to the high school, 8400 Wicker Ave., around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday after students reported to the principal they saw Cox with drugs in her classroom, court documents said. A student “had video of what appeared to be a teacher ‘snorting’ a line of an illegal substance,” according to the probable cause affidavit.

“We are concerned and saddened by the recent incident, and we have recognized that it is a systemic issue in our country,” School Board President Janice Malchow said in an email.

“Lake Central has provided parent information sessions for the past two years; in addition, through various formats LC has provided our students an awareness of challenges that they might encounter. We believe in open communication about the issue,” she wrote. “It takes a village to battle this ugly demon.”

On Wednesday, police brought Igar, a K-9 officer, to Cox’s classroom on the second floor of the school where the dog alerted police to possible drugs in the center drawer of Cox’s desk, the affidavit states.

After an assistant principal unlocked the drawer, police found “a clear tightly twisted bag with multiple small rolled up pieces of tin foil,” court records state. Police also found an “outer plastic wrap from a cigarette package” with rolled up tin foil pieces, as well as “a rolled up small piece of paper” that looked like a straw that a detective “knows to be used to ingest illegal narcotics through one’s nostril,” the affidavit states.

Police then told Cox she was being placed under arrest, according to court records. Cox complied, giving police her car keys and instructing them where her car was parked, the affidavit states.

Officers searched the car and found a glass pipe in the glove box, empty pieces of tin foil, torn open plastic baggies and two straws made out of rolled up paper, court records show.

Cox told police she bought $160 worth of cocaine that morning before arriving at school, the affidavit states.

“Ms. Cox advised she normally purchases her (drugs) after school but was feeling sick and needed to get some,” court records state.

Cox said she was unable to ingest any of the drugs before school started, so she brought it inside with her, according to the affidavit. While on break at about 10:20 a.m., Cox said she used the drugs with the classroom door locked, “and the kids must have randomly seen through her window,” according to court records.

Cox told police that “she has been using since her freshman year of college approximately four years ago,” court records show.

District records show Cox was hired at Lake Central as an English teacher in August 2016. Her LinkedIn page states she also worked as a student teacher there.

Online records appear to show she made the Dean’s List multiple times as a student at Purdue University Northwest in Hammond.

Lake Central Superintendent Larry Veracco was not immediately available Monday for comment.

Last week, Veracco said in an email that principals took “swift and forceful action.”

He declined at the time to confirm if Cox was still employed by the district or elaborate further on the situation, saying it was part of an ongoing investigation.

Court records do not show if an initial court date has been set for Cox, but records show she posted a $945 bond.

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© 2017 the Post-Tribune (Merrillville, Ind.)

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