Police: Middle school teacher admits to selling, using heroin

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. -- Officers arrested a middle school teacher in University Place on Thursday for allegedly selling heroin and oxycodone during school hours, Tacoma Police said.

Brian Bennett, 33, teaches 7th grade math and science at Drum Intermediate School, district officials said.

Police said Bennett admitted to investigators that he would leave the school to make his drug sales then return. He also admitted to smoking heroin during his breaks, police said.

"I was surprised," said Nathaniel Healy, one of Bennett's current students.

Healy said he knew something had happened when a substitute teacher showed up at the school Thursday morning to teach one of his summer school classes. He later learned from a friend's mother that Bennett had been arrested by local and federal officers while leaving his home, which is about 4 miles away from the school.

"He seemed like a nice person," Healy said.

The Tacoma Police Department's Special Investigations unit worked with the South Sound Gang Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force's Tactical Diversion Squad to serve a search warrant at Bennett's home. Officers found oxycodone pills and heroin inside his vehicle, police said.

Police said Bennett admitted to selling the pills and smoking the heroin during his breaks. He told officers he did not sell the drugs on campus and did not sell the drugs to students, police said.

"There's a certain level of professionalism that's expected. When someone doesn't display that, it's just really surprising," said parent Jennifer Healy.

"Somebody that's supposed to be a role model for children. Yeah, You wouldn't think they would be caught up in something so awful," said Katie Dillon, who used to attend Drum Intermediate School.

Bennett was hired by the University Place School District in September 2007, district officials said.

He was booked into the Pierce County Jail Thursday on several drug-related charges.

"His eyes were always red," Nathaniel Healy said.

Healy's mother said she's had nothing but positive experiences will all of her son's teachers up until now. She hopes to use Bennett's arrest to teach her son a valuable lesson.

"That's one of the first things I thought of is this will be a great opportunity to talk to Nathaniel about addiction and how important it is to stay away from drugs and just open up that dialogue," said Jennifer Healy.

The district's superintendent said she planned to issue Bennett a notice of paid administrative leave on Thursday. Depending on the results of the investigation once it's complete, she will make a decision about any possible disciplinary action, she said.
close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off