Pinkerton Academy’s Building Trades instructor has been terminated from his position at the semi-private high school following allegations of inappropriate contact with a 15-year-old female student.
Derry Police arrested David Howes, 64, of Windham on June 3 after he turned himself in to the Derry Police Department. He was arrested at 12:52 p.m.
A Derry Police press release stated that Howes was arrested on a warrant charging him with five counts of Simple Assault.
Derry Police Capt. Vern Thomas wrote in the press release, “The warrant is the result of an investigation conducted by Derry Police Detectives with the cooperation of Pinkerton Academy. The complaints allege that Mr. Howes, a teacher, inappropriately touched a 15-year-old female Pinkerton student while she was in his classroom. The incident is alleged to have taken place on May 22, 2014 after the close of the school day.”
The five incidents took place at approximately 2:15 p.m., after dismissal, according to the complaint forms. Howes is alleged to have “knowingly caused unprivileged physical contact” with the girl by rubbing her (upper) inner thigh, putting his hand on her right thigh, patting her inner thigh, and rubbing her thigh two more times.” The charges are contrary to RSA 631:2-A and all five are misdemeanors.
Howes was released on $10,000 personal recognizance bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned before the 10th Circuit Court Derry District on Thursday, June 19.
A statement from the school said Howes was placed on Administrative Leave Tuesday, May 27, the day Pinkerton was informed of the allegations, and was terminated Friday, May 30.
A spokesman for the school said Howes was employed at Pinkerton for approximately five years.
Pinkerton Headmaster Mary Anderson wrote in a letter to parents, “On behalf of the Academy, I want to communicate this information to you. Our highest priority remains the safety, security and well-being of all students. As set forth in Pinkerton Academy’s Professional Conduct policy (found on the school website under Administration/Policies): Pinkerton Academy employees ‘must demonstrate respect for each student as an individual, maintain appropriate boundaries with students, and serve as a role model at all times.’ It also specifies that violation of the policy may result in disciplinary action ‘up to and including termination.’
“Every Pinkerton Academy employee undergoes a rigorous background check before they are hired,” she wrote. “They also receive ongoing training about appropriate personal behavior with students. We have protocols in place that require deliberate action by all employees to protect and support students. These measures underscore our commitment to providing a safe and healthy learning environment. We hope an isolated act like this will not reflect negatively on the faculty and staff who are committed to providing your student an outstanding education in a safe environment every day.”
Anderson urged parents to contact her or the Derry Police if they had questions.
The personnel handbook for the school includes the following: “Pinkerton Academy employees must recognize that there are special responsibilities inherent in their positions. They must demonstrate respect for each student as an individual, maintain appropriate boundaries with students, and serve as a role model at all times. Employees may not, under any circumstances, exploit students for their own personal gain or advantage. It is totally unacceptable for any employee to ‘date’ a student (or students) or to have romantic or intimate relationships with a student.”
The policy further reads, “Under no conditions will it be acceptable for an employee to consume or to be under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants during the normal school day or while performing specific or general duties as an educator, coach, advisor, or chaperone for Academy activities. Employees shall not consume alcoholic beverages at off?campus student events such as the Junior Prom or Senior Banquet, or in the same building or the immediate vicinity of said event(s). Violators of these policies will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Pinkerton Academy employees are held to a very high standard of conduct which includes the responsibility for setting and maintaining appropriate and professional boundaries in all interactions and communications with student, parents, other family members and co-employees.”