HUNTSVILLE — A Scott County school teacher has been charged with attempting to fabricate a drug test after an investigation was launched into allegations that she provided methamphetamine to students.
Tara L. Lay, 41, of Oneida, was arrested Wednesday (May 31) by Scott County Sheriff’s Department investigators, and charged with tampering with or fabricating evidence, along with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
According to warrants filed by Detective Abby Duncan, the investigation was launched six days earlier, after the Department of Children’s Services received a complaint that Lay — who teaches at the Scott County School System’s alternative school — was providing students at the school with meth, cigarettes and special privileges with their phones during school hours.
Duncan accompanied a special investigator from DCS to interview Lay, who agreed to speak with investigators but allegedly became defensive when she was asked to submit to a drug test. After requesting to speak to her attorney and after further discussions with investigators, Lay allegedly agreed to take the drug test, but allegedly attempted to fabricate the test.
According to Duncan’s warrant, the DCS investigator noticed that Lay’s hand was “soaked in some kind of liquid” and that she had a “silver lid in her palm.” When requested by the investigator to reveal what she had in her hand, she allegedly refused, before placing an item in the trash.
Investigators declared the drug test invalid due to the alleged tampering, which led to Lay’s arrest.
According to the warrants, two students from the alternative school admitted that Lay provided them with cigarettes. However, the warrant did not stipulate whether the allegations of meth being provided to students were substantiated.
Lay was reassigned to the alternative school from Huntsville Elementary School after being cited in March 2016 for falsification of a drug test.
At that time, according to the original court documents, Lay was being investigated for being “on some type of narcotic.” She agreed to submit to a urine test, which came back inconclusive. A follow-up drug test was also inconclusive. At the time, investigators from the Sheriff’s Department discovered a bottle of urine on Lay’s person and concluded that she had altered both drug screens.
Lay refused to submit to a third drug screen at that time, but admitted to taking Suboxone, Tramadol and smoking marijuana, according to court documents. Allegedly, she told investigators that she had altered the drug screens because “she was afraid of losing her job.”
Lay was later granted pretrial diversion, which allowed the charge to be dismissed, with a stipulation that she comply with the school system’s policy on random drug testing and participate in drug therapy.