Charges dropped against Scott County teacher accused of giving tobacco to students

Tara Lay (source: Scott County Jail)

The Scott County Sheriff’s Office said all charges were dropped against Tara Lay on Wednesday, June 21. Scott County Director of Schools said they have no made a decision on whether to reinstate Lay.

HUNTSVILLE (WATE) – A Scott County teacher is at the center of an investigation involving the Department of Children’s Services and the Scott County Sheriff’s Department. Concerned parents reached out to WATE 6 On Your Side asking what was going on.

Tara Lay is facing tampering or fabricating with evidence charges, as well as contributing to the delinquency of a minor charges.

Lay has been a teacher in the Scott County school system since March 2001 and had been teaching at Scott County’s Alternative Learning Center. The investigation into what was going on in her classroom started May 24, but Director of Schools Bill Hall could not elaborate on what sparked the investigation.

There are rumors about drugs, but Hall says he received a report from DCS which notes Lay was simply providing tobacco to students.

The situation is worrisome and is raising questions for parents like Melisa Hamp,

“How long it’s been going on, if they did a good background check, if they actually know her.”

Hall says when the investigation started, Lay was ordered to take a mandated drug screen. He says DCS told him Lay tried tampering with it. Parents say that kind of behavior is troubling because teachers are responsible for their little ones.

“Especially when you hear about bad stuff happening at the schools,” added Hamp.

Lay was reassigned to Scott County’s Alternative Learning Center in 2016. That year, Hall says she was suspended for three days without pay because of suspicions of drugs. Lay agreed in 2016 to random drug testing and Hall says he could have terminated her if she had failed, refused or tampered with a drug test, but she passed each one.

The Scott County school system says they hold teachers in the highest regard and will not tolerate this kind of behavior or use of drugs or illegal substances. Hall plans to with Lay next week.

“I hope that she gets in some kind of trouble for it. I mean, I hope they don’t just slap her on the back and let her go,” said Hamp.

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