Rialto police, school district at odds over teacher’s suspected heroin use at school

A former pre-kindergarten teacher in Rialto who reportedly admitted to smoking heroin in her classroom was never arrested or charged with a crime, largely because she told police and school officials two different stories.

Shannon Adcock, who taught at Henry Elementary School, admitted to the lead personnel agent for Rialto Unified School District that she had “just smoked heroin” in her classroom while her students were at recess on March 7, 2018, according to district documents obtained via a public records request.

“She also told me that she had smoked heroin and took methamphetamines in her car when she arrived to school,” personnel agent Rhonda Kramer said in a letter dated June 1, 2018, to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, which is investigating the incident.

Adcock, who according to the commission website still holds a valid multiple subject teaching credential and reading certificate, subsequently resigned from the district, where she had taught since July 2002, district spokeswoman Syeda Jafri said.

Under the terms of her resignation agreement, signed in May 2018, Adcock waived her right to an evidentiary hearing and any future right to sue the district for, among other things, wrongful termination and discrimination.

Hunkered beneath sink

A school employee found Adcock’s students unattended during recess and checked her classroom, where they found Adcock hunkered at a cabinet under a sink and heard the sound of rustling tinfoil, according to a report by the employee, whose name was redacted from the document.

“She then stood up hastily stating that she was not doing anything,” according to the report, which noted that Adcock said three times that she wasn’t “doing anything.” Asked what was in her hand, Adcock said, “nothing,” and then placed the item in her purse, which was inside the cabinet, according to the report.

When Kramer arrived, Adcock confessed to her about her drug use and that she was an “addict and needed help,” according to Kramer’s letter to the state commission.

“I informed her that based on this information I would have to contact the police since she was using drugs on the school campus and she was under the influence while supervising students,” Kramer said in her letter. “She became hysterical and tried to push me out of the way to get to her purse.”

Rialto police Officer Agnes Watson (Courtesy Rialto Police Department)

Told police she hadn’t used at school

School Resource Officers Agnes Watson and Charles Jones were called to the school, where Jones secured Adcock in the parking lot while Watson spent more than 30 minutes searching her classroom. She found a hand-held torch and several pieces of rolled up aluminum foil in Adcock’s purse, but no drugs, Police Chief Mark Kling said.

The officers asked Adcock when she last used drugs, and she told them the day before, Kling said. “She told the district something different,” the chief said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

Watson and Jones concluded that Adcock showed no signs of being under the influence of drugs, such as constricted pupils, drowsiness or slurred speech. Instead of pushing for a potential misdemeanor offense of possession of drug paraphernalia, Watson and Jones used their discretion, opting not to arrest Adcock and turning the matter over to the school district for an internal investigation, Kling said.

No police report

Neither Watson nor Jones wrote a report on the incident, but Kling on Wednesday provided the computer-aided dispatch report of the incident, which indicates Adcock told officers she never used drugs in school, and the last time she used was the day before at her home.

The report notes Adcock did not have drugs on her person and made no reference to a “hand-held torch” being found in her purse, only “lighters and a vape pen” and two pieces of aluminum with burn marks on them.

Once Watson and Jones informed Kramer they would not be arresting Adcock, the teacher consented to a drug test. She was taken to Fox Occupational Medical Center in San Bernardino and tested. The results came back positive, according to Kramer’s letter to the state commission.

But a positive drug test does not necessarily mean Adcock used drugs in class that day, as narcotics stay in the system for weeks, said Kling, who added that Adcock did admit to police, as she did with Kramer, she was a drug addict and needed help.

School district has no say

Rialto Unified Superintendent Cuauhtémoc Avila said in a statement Wednesday that he stands by Kramer’s version of events. “The District’s leading priority is safety. Our staff is expected to address all situations involving health and safety with urgency and professionalism. This case was no exception,” Avila said.

Jafri said law enforcement was notified of the incident in a timely manner, but the school district has no say in decisions related to arrest or prosecution, nor does it control decisions by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing regarding credentials.

Berenice Oseguera, the investigator at the Commission on Teacher Credentialing who is handling the Adcock case, declined to comment.

Adcock did not respond to multiple telephone calls seeking comment.

Accounts often vary

Asked about the inconsistencies in the school district and police department’s version of events, Rialto police Lt. Paul Stella said in an email, “It’s not uncommon for there to be varying accounts of a recollection of what transpired when someone calls to report an incident versus what the officer(s) are factually faced with when they are on scene.

“In this particular case,” he said, “officers determined the appropriate response was to allow school district personnel to handle Ms. Adcock according to their personnel rules, including requiring a drug test.”