Concord fifth-grade teacher who was arrested with ex-student resigns post

Last modified: 8/27/2013 5:43:36 PM
The Broken Ground School teacher who was arrested alongside one of her former students after being pulled over in a car the police said smelled like marijuana and contained cocaine has resigned, according to the district.

Concord schools Superintendent Chris Rath said in a brief email that 50-year-old Peggy Sinclair agreed not to return to her fifth-grade classroom after “a mutually acceptable agreement” was reached with legal counsel from the state affiliate of the National Education Association teachers union. Rath declined to say whether that agreement included a severance package.

Sinclair, who did not return a request for comment yesterday, chose to resign after 27 years with the district, even though she’s no longer facing criminal charges in relation to her April arrest. She had been charged with drug possession, but that case was dropped last month when Sinclair’s lawyer showed prosecutors that she did have a prescription for pills found in her purse.

But the man Sinclair was arrested with – a 22-year-old former student whom the police have identified as a street captain in a white supremacist gang – is still facing charges for the other drugs the police said were found in Sinclair’s car.

Matthew Peters was driving Sinclair’s vehicle April 23 when the two were pulled over in Canterbury for illegal passing, according to the police. The officer said in an arrest affidavit that he told Sinclair and Peters that he smelled marijuana coming from the car but both quickly responded, “No you don’t.”

When the two did not comply with their vehicle being searched, the officer seized the car and obtained a search warrant, the police said. Prescription pills were later found in Sinclair’s purse, while a large amount of marijuana and a plastic bag containing cocaine were found in a backpack along with Peters’s license, the police said.

A little more than two months after Sinclair was charged, her attorney presented prosecutors with a valid prescription for the pills found in her handbag and the case was dropped. Sinclair, though, remained on paid administrative leave with the district following that decision.

Rath announced Sinclair’s resignation yesterday.

“The District thanks Ms. Sinclair for her many years of service and wishes her well in her future endeavors,” the superintendent wrote in an email.

Rath yesterday declined to say whether Sinclair is getting any financial compensation in exchange for her resignation or to discuss how the agreement was reached. Two attorneys from the teachers association did not return requests for comment yesterday.

The state’s Right to Know law requires that records of “any payment made to an employee of any public body or agency . . . shall immediately be made available without alteration for public inspection.” The Monitor has filed a Right to Know request for any severance provided to Sinclair.

Peters is one of Sinclair’s former students, according to a page in a 2002-03 Broken Ground yearbook that shows a grinning Peters with a buzzed haircut as one of 25 students in “Mrs. Sinclair’s Class.” At the time of their arrest in April, Sinclair and Peters were living together at a Highland Street apartment, according to court documents.

The attorney who represented Sinclair in her criminal case said she was taking Peters to register for classes at a community college when they were pulled over.

Sinclair sat in the front row in a courtroom at Concord’s district court in June as Peters was arraigned in an unrelated case. The police said that in February he committed an armed robbery in part as retaliation against a man who had insulted his gang, the Brotherhood of White Warriors.

The police said Peters and another member of the gang attacked the man, who lost four teeth in the assault, and tried to steal a large amount of heroin valued at up to $10,000 from him.

(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or or on Twitter at @TriciaNadolny.)


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