Children at any school deserve to feel safe and protected, however, this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes adults with authority abuse their power, turning an otherwise ethical school into a very dangerous place.
A group of students and their families learned this lesson all too well when they trusted their school to look after their children. They were certainly looking after them all right, but not in the way the parents would have wanted…
Mrs. Watkins had a lot going for her when she started teaching English at Stamford High School in Connecticut. She had a wonderful family consisting of a husband and two children and her budding career at Stamford High was only just beginning.
Texting Her Student
Despite her seemingly great home life, Watkins was teaching at Stamford High in 2013 when she became interested in one of her students. Ignoring any ethical or moral behavior, Watkins acted on her urge and began sending her male student inappropriate text messages…
The 17-year-old student was thrilled that his older teacher would be interested in him, and they began hanging out off school grounds but during school hours. They would drive up to a secluded parking lot up Strawberry Hill Avenue next to Barrett Park so that no one would see them.
It Was All A Dream
While in the car, Mrs. Watkins had sex with her student and soon began supplying both him and his friend with marijuana. She even allowed him to drive her car even though he didn’t have a license! It was probably a dream for the teen at the time to be having sex with his teacher while she supplied him with drugs and let him drive her car. However, his excitement didn’t last long…
After their affair had been going on for over 8 months, Mrs. Watkins warned her student that if he ended their relationship, she would fail him. Since the teen needed to pass the class to graduate, he confided in a counselor at his school in late June.
The Principal at Stamford High, Donna Valentine, and Vice Principal, Roth Nordin, were both notified by the counselor of what had been going on. Despite this, they didn’t go to authorities or alert the Board of Education as to the truth…
Going To Police
The teen decided to go to police himself and he told them about his inappropriate relationship with his teacher and how long it had been going on for. He also said that when he tried to dump Mrs. Watkins, she assaulted him and accused him of being with someone else.
What Was She Hiding?
Shortly after he reported the allegations, police executed a search warrant of Watkin’s car during a motor vehicle stop. During the search, police noticed Mrs. Watkins was trying to hide her cell phone and she became verbally combative after marijuana was discovered in the vehicle…
Officers seized her car and cell phone and a forensic examination of her phone was conducted. It revealed that she sent more than 2,000 messages to the teen, several hundred phone calls and naked pictures of herself.
Authorities also learned that Mrs. Watkins wasn’t only supplying marijuana to her male student but also his friend. As the case against Mrs. Watkins kept building and building, the entire school board was being investigated. Mrs. Watkins was now awaiting trial and she began to feel sorry for what she had done…
The Plea Deal
“I was put in a position of trust and I violated the trust,” she said. However, the courts weren’t buying it. They decided to issue Mrs. Watkins a plea deal that called for between nine months and four years in exchange for pleading guilty to felony charges of second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.
Even though Mrs. Watkins accepted the deal, she made things worse for herself when she ran into her student at a local Dunkin Donuts. The victim was at the coffee shop waiting for food when Mrs. Watkins appeared and made threatening statements to him…
The teen became so frightened that he left and told his mother what happened. They then reported the incident to police. While at the police station, investigators were able to get security video from Dunkin Donuts and they issued an arrest warrant and took Mrs. Watkins into custody.
Once she made bail, she was admitted to a psychiatric facility called Silver Hills. Mrs. Watkins didn’t stay there long and once she got out, she was so angry that she took things too far when she ran into her student’s friend…
At Dunkin Donuts at about 11 a.m. Mrs. Watkins walked up behind the boy and threatened to kill him and his friend. She said, “You and your buddy have taken everything from me. My kids, my family, my job and my career. Mark my words, I will not rest until you two are dead.”
The boy went outside to tell his mother what happened and she took down Watkins license plate and gave police a description of what she was wearing. Watkins apparently called her old student from a blocked number and gave him the same message as well…
When Watkins returned to court, Judge Gary White reviewed the plea agreement with her and said that she violated its terms by not staying away from the students and furthermore threatening them. Her former plea agreement was thrown away and she was forced to serve 5 years in prison, with 15 years of probation.
She will also spend 10 years following her release on the sex offender list and a protective order prohibited her from contacting the two victims in the case until March 2030. Still, what about the rest of the corrupt school district who knew about what was going on but didn’t report anything?
Corrupt School District
Valentine and the assistant principal, Roth Nordin were both arrested in October 2014 for not reporting the inappropriate sexual relationship between Mrs. Watkins and the underage male. The school district was turned upside down and others in charge wound up being prosecuted.
The Real Victims
The case took on a life of its own but the ones it hurt the most were the two victims. They are now suffering the effects of abuse and will probably be recovering from this for a long time.