A Stamford High School English teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a male student off school grounds and supplying and smoking marijuana with another student has been and will remain on leave pending the outcome of the case.
Danielle Watkins, 32, of Fort Point Street, Norwalk, is charged with two-counts of second-degree sexual assault, and one count of sale of marijuana regarding the first student, and sale of marijuana and risk of injury to the minor regarding the second student. She surrendered on Thursday.
Stamford Schools Supt. Winifred Hamilton said Thursday afternoon that, “We take these issues very seriously and always act to protect the welfare of our students. We will continue to cooperate with the police and other authorities on this matter.”
Police said the 18-year-old student went to Stamford Police Headquarters June 26 and gave a statement about the relationship. Three days earlier, on June 23, police learned of the relationship and identified Watkins as the teacher.
According to police, “the victim stated that he had engaged in numerous sexual encounters with his English teacher from September 2013 until June 2014. He relayed that the sexual encounters occurred in her vehicle, during school hours, but off school grounds.”
“The male victim stated that Watkins also provided him and a friend with marijuana and they would smoke marijuana on and off the school grounds during school hours. Also, that Watkins sent her naked text messages of herself and that she allowed him to use her vehicle while knowing he had no license,” police said.
The student tried to break off the relationship but Watkins assaulted him and “accused him of being with someone else,” police said. Watkins also threatened to fail the student unless the relationship continued, police said. But in late June he told a counselor who notified the state Department of Children and Families and the Stamford Board of Education.
“In the middle of May, he tried to break the relationship off and it became physical, where she physically assaulted him and at that point, he began to get scared and grew tired of the relationship. At that point, she wouldn’t take no for an answer and this was his only way out,” said Lt. Diedrich Hohn, Stamford Police Department.
Watkins is also accused of giving a 15-year-old student marijuana and rolling papers, as well as smoking it with him on school grounds.
Police searched Watkins’ home, cell phone and vehicle on June 27, stopping her car in Norwalk. She allegedly had marijuana in the car and was “verbally combative,” leading to her arrest.
The phone contained more than 2,000 text messages and hundreds of calls between Watkins and the 18-year-old student, and naked photos of Watkins that she texted to him, police said.
The mother of two was not home when News 8 knocked at her door. Parents and students we talked with have just begun digesting news of her arrest.
“I hadn’t heard about it to tell you the truth, but of course it’s inappropriate and wrong!” said Brigita McLeod, a parent.
“A teacher should not be interacting with kids like that,” said Destiny Elliott, Stamford High School student.
Watkins is also charged with interfering with a search warrant, breach of the peace, possession of less than half an ounce of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia, regarding the search warrant execution, and is charged with possession of a controlled substance from a May 15 arrest. She is out on a $100,000 bond. Her arraignment is set for July 31st at state superior court in Stamford.