Ada teacher under investigation for inappropriate conduct

By: Robin Beal Email
By: Robin Beal Email

ADA, Okla. -- After some shocking accusations, an Ada High School teacher is now under investigation by the superintendent. A storm has been brewing at the high school for months over allegations of inappropriate conduct by a teacher.

When your kids go on school trips, you expect them to be looked after. You expect them to learn.

You probably would not expect them to be offered drugs and alcohol by their own teacher.

That’s what allegedly happened on a student trip to Italy chaperoned by a high school teacher.

"We flew over there, and we just saw the sights, tried the wine, different things, and we had all tried the wine…"

Daniel Luhmann is only 18 years old. He went to Italy just last year with other Ada High School students. He says they were all excited, and by the end of May had their bags packed ready to go to Europe.

Their adult chaperone was Kathryn Louise Lowry, a 41-year-old mother and English teacher at Ada High School, a person parents trust to educate and take care of their kids.

"Well I guess you could say she tried to take care of us. She got us around the town…she was intoxicated most of the time," Daniel says.

The accusations don't stop there.

"She also provided Valium for the students that wanted one on the flight over to Italy," Daniel says. “She thought it would relax us."

If all that relaxation on the plane was okay with Mrs. Lowry, what about Daniel’s mother? Would she think it was okay?

"No absolutely not. Those kids could've been taking other medications that interacted with that, and here they would have been on a flight, a nine-hour trip, and they could've died from it. I mean really they could've. Something terrible could have happened. It didn't, thank God it didn't, but that just blew me away," Daniel’s mother says.

The Superintendent says Kathy Lowry has been under scrutiny by his office since November. That’s when Daniel says the harassment started of Mrs. Lowry confronting him at school and even calling him on his cell phone at night.

"And I asked him when he got off the phone who it was, and he said that was Kathy Lowry again. I don't remember if he said she was in Mexico or on her way to Mexico and he said, because she's all stressed out from all this stuff going on at school," Daniel’s mother says.

Daniel says he wasn't the one who tipped off the administration about the teacher's drinking-- someone else did. He says the harassment by Mrs. Lowry just got to be too much, too often, and says that is why he went before the school board last week along with another student to ask for something to be done.

The administration contends that the school had nothing to do with the Italy excursion, and that Mrs. Lowry organized it on her own.

"It is not a school-related trip. That was never a school-board approved, school-related trip…"

That's where the issue gets more confusing. We obtained a copy of Daniel’s school attendance record, which shows he was absent on May 25th, the last day of school. The "EE" means it was a school-excused absence, and the reason Daniel got an "EE" for the 25th was the Italy trip.

So was it approved by the school, or wasn't it?

"Like I said, that's not a school activity, I don't know what her relationship is with an outside travel agency. You would have to talk to her to get details about that," a school official said.

We tried to talk to Mrs. Lowry. She didn't return our phone call, so I went to her house. Her husband told me she wasn't interested in speaking with us.

Now it is important to note that the legal drinking age in Italy is sixteen, and Mrs. Lowry is not currently the focus of any criminal investigations.

Part 2 will air tonight (Wednesday, February 20) on First News at Ten and will be posted after the newscast.

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