Teacher faces marijuana charge

SISTERSVILLE – A fifth-grade teacher at Sistersville Elementary was arrested over the weekend on a charge of possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.

Gina Crawford, 33, of 215 Wiley Ave., Sistersville, and her boyfriend, Justin Britton, 33, of New Martinsville were arrested after Sistersville Police served a search warrant around 10:30 p.m. Friday. According to a release from police Chief Benjamin Placer and Tyler County Prosecutor Luke Furbee, the warrant was obtained as the result of “a month-long investigation into the alleged use and distribution of controlled substances.”

The search of the residence yielded items consistent with the use and distribution of marijuana, the release says. Tyler County Magistrate Court records indicate these included baggies containing marijuana, smoking devices, cash and prescription pills.

As of Monday afternoon, both Crawford and Britton had been released from the North Central Regional Jail on $10,000 bond each.

Two men who were at the residence when the warrant was executed, Chase Cornell, 18, of Sistersville and Austin Rhodes, 18, of Friendly, were cited on one misdemeanor charge each of possession of marijuana.

Crawford is the daughter of Tyler County Schools Superintendent Robin Daquilante, who said Monday that Crawford “will be treated as any other employee.”

“As an educator, I am discouraged to think that any educator working with children would personally be involved with anything illegal,” Daquilante said in a statement emailed to The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. “As a parent, I love my daughter and know that she will have to answer personally as well as professionally for any action deemed to be illegal.”

For the time being, Crawford is considered suspended, although her employment period for the 2014-15 school year hasn’t technically begun.

“The Tyler County Board of Education has a dual role in such cases,” Daquilante said in the statement. “First, we must take the proper steps to deal with this as a professional personnel matter, including protecting the rights of our employee. Secondly, we want to assure the parents and guardians of our students that student safety and well-being is our top priority on a daily basis, as it will be in this case.”

Most actions in the case would come through the personnel office, but Daquilante said the district is reviewing with its attorney whether she will have to recuse herself from parts of the process.

(Ed Parsons of the Tyler Star News contributed to this story.)