Parents of students at a New Hampshire high school are furious over officials’ refusal to reveal that a dean of students was arrested in February on charges she possessed heroin and steroids.
Rekha Luther served as Pembroke Academy’s dean of students until her resignation on March 22, in the wake of her arrest. Police were reportedly tipped off by a caller who allegedly saw a “whole bundle” of hypodermic needles at the school. A subsequent search by police determined the needles belonged to Luther, Chief Dwayne Gilman told The Concord Monitor.
“Obviously, with the emphasis on heroin in the state right now, that’s just not something we wanted to take lightly,” Gilman said. “Everything you don’t want to hear in a school happened in one day.”
Luther, 36, was handcuffed and taken out of the school through a back door. The incident was so under-the-radar, a school district meeting with about 100 parents present two weeks later never even touched on Luther’s arrest.
“There’s two ways to get the job done: You can be a bull in a china shop or you can think methodically, still have the same outcome and not affect anyone else,” Gilman told The Concord Monitor.
Luther posted $10,000 personal recognizance bail the same day she was arrested and was later arraigned in district court. She faces four charges of possession of a controlled drug.
The Concord Monitor reported that Luther’s fiancé, Jonathan Pesa, died in June from a drug overdose.
But many parents never learned of Luther’s issues until The Concord Monitor’s story appeared on Friday.
“A lot of people are appalled that it has been kept quiet,” parent Rachel Tether told WMUR9.
The mother of a 17-year-old Pembroke student said she didn’t know about Luther’s arrest until she saw Luther’s name in a police log.
“Somebody just disappears from a position of authority and nobody asked questions? The kids don’t say anything?” Jeanne LaBarge told The Concord Monitor. “It’s amazing to me how they kept this so quiet.”
Top district officials wouldn’t comment on the arrest to The Concord Monitor.