ADA, Okla. -- On Monday night, we told you about allegations against a school teacher in Ada, and how students and a parent went before the school board to speak out. Now, more details emerge, and another shocking accusation is made of providing champagne to minors. Robin Beal continues his investigative report.
“The allegations were made that a teacher on a school-related trip gave alcohol to some students, and may have had some alcohol to drink and then drove a school vehicle,” Ada Schools superintendent Pat Harrison says.
Harrison is the man looking into the claims made at last week’s school board meeting about alleged actions by Ada High School teacher Kathy Lowry.
“I have a 4.0. I’m number 10 in my class, which is the top 5 percent of my class. There’s about 200 students in my class,” Daniel Luhmann says he’s a good student, and last year was part of the prestigious Ada High School Mock Trial Team, state champions for 2007. They made it all the way to Dallas for a national competition in May.
“Do you ever drink with Mrs. Lowry?”
“I don’t now, but at the mock trial event, I had…”
“So you did drink with Mrs. Lowry on that event?”
“Yes. Me and two or three other students went up to Mrs. Lowry’s room, and she bought a bottle of champagne for one of the other student’s birthday, and we drank with her.”
“And how old was she on that birthday?”
“She was 17.”
If it occurred as Luhmann claims, his mother says that kind of celebration is very questionable.
“To this point in the investigations and the conversations that I’ve had with people on both sides of the issue, I’m getting two totally different scenarios which makes it difficult,” Superintendent Harrison says.
Once the superintendent began asking questions, Daniel says Mrs. Lowry started approaching him at school, asking him to keep quiet about the whole thing. He says those confrontations are what prompted him to speak out.
“We didn’t bring this up. We didn’t want to be involved in this. We didn’t want to have to go speak before the school board. We simply wanted her to stop harassing us and leave us alone, and let the school do their investigation on their own,” Daniel says.
School officials told me last week they have no idea when that investigation will be complete, and that it is ongoing.
“Up to now, we’ve been really trying to keep the students out of it. Evidently we are to the point where we can’t do that any longer, so we’ll talk to students who were involved in this trip. We’ll talk to the additional sponsors and parents and adults that were on the trip who choose to want to speak and then we will at the end, look and see what we’ve got, and what we’re going to deal with, and we intend to do the right thing here,” Harrison says.
It is important to remember that no police investigation is taking place that we know of, and the underage drinking that we told you about Monday night is perfectly legal in Europe, but it does clearly violate the travel company's code of conduct.
We did try several times to speak with Mrs. Lowry, but our attempts were unsuccessful.
The bottom line here is that a lot of people in Ada are upset, and a lot of serious claims are being made.
After last week's board of education meeting, it is up to the school district to sort it all out.