Party video leads to arrest of two Magoffin schools employees

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SALYERSVILLE  - Three were arrested after a video from a party involving juveniles drinking alcohol was posted on Facebook Wednesday, May 18.

Kentucky State Police received a complaint regarding the video and determined the party's location was the home of Wendell King, 40, of Patrick Drive, in Salyersville.

When law enforcement arrived  at the trailer just after midnight, KSP Trooper Zach Haney noted in an arrest citation that he could see juveniles in the kitchen, where he could see empty beer cans in the trash can and liquor bottles on the counter.
Trooper Haney watched as one juvenile hid a bottle of Crown Royal in the cabinet and heard another say, "Hide stuff. The police is here."

According to police reports, five juveniles, ranging from 14 to 19 years old, were given a preliminary breath test and the presence of alcohol was shown. Two other juveniles did not test positive for alcohol. Two juveniles were sent to the emergency room due to their level of intoxication, and the Department of Social Services was notified. All juveniles were released to their parents.

According to the arrest citation, Wendall King was found undressed and passed out in the master bedroom. Dearl Peters, 41, of Gun Creek Rd., Salyersville, and Leaha Vanhoose, 22, of Paintsville, were also located inside the home.
Both employed by the Magoffin County Schools district, Peters was a carpentry teacher and King was a maintenance employee.

King and Peters are  both charged with five counts of third degree unlawful transaction with a minor (a Class A misdemeanor) and Vanhoose is charged with one count. All three were taken to the Big Sandy Regional Detention Center and have since been released, pending future court dates. 

On Peters' arrest citation Trooper Haney stated that, "further investigation is pending on the above subject."

The video posted to King's Facebook account that started the investigation was taken down by the next day.

In the Magoffin County School Board's regularly-scheduled meeting held on May 19, the board acknowledged Superintendent Stanley Holbrook's decision to officially terminate King and Peters, effective as of Friday, May 20. 

Magoffin County Schools Board Chairman Rodney Ward read the following statement regarding the recent controversies:

As most of you know, my name is Rodney Ward and I am the Chairman of the Magoffin County Board of Education. I just want to take this opportunity to address some of the controversial details surrounding our school system, our employees and most importantly our school children and their safety.

Recent events have occurred on two known occasions that have involved alleged inappropriate conduct involving some of the employees of the school system and some minor children of our school district. While I cannot discuss names of any individuals and identities of children that were involved or exact details of the events that have transpired, I want to personally assure all of the parents of Magoffin County Students and all of the concerned citizens of Magoffin County, that any illegal acts, any conduct unbecoming of a teacher, administrator or employee of this system, that involve our children will absolutely not be tolerated in any manner by me, by this Board, by this Superintendent and will be swiftly dealt with accordingly.
The safety and physical and emotional well-being of our school children (your sons, your daughters, your grandchildren, your nieces or nephews) are 100% our top priority. We have been disgusted and surprised by recent events that have been brought to light by concerned parents and law enforcement. We have been working with and are cooperating fully with the Kentucky State Police, the Department of Public Advocacy and with all designated law enforcement entities to ensure that any illegal acts involving our children will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

On behalf of the Board of Education, I want you to inform me or any member of this Board of Education, the Superintendent Stanley Holbrook, any law enforcement agency, of any illegal activity involving our school children and any employee of the Magoffin County School System and we will guarantee that we do our part to see that our children are protected.

I want to stress to you that Knowledge and Information are key to us. We can investigate allegations, but we are not a prosecuting or investigating agency, so your cooperation with information, tips, knowledge is helpful and will help us guarantee a safe and professional learning environment for our children.

As far as I am concerned, the Buck Stops Here! We are your voice and your representatives. We will not tolerate foolish, irresponsible, and illegal behavior when it comes to the safety of our children. Please keep us informed about any illegal behavior involving our kids, no matter how minor or major the alleged activity, and we promise that your information will not fall upon deaf ears. 

In closing, I want the community to know that this board of education is centered on changing the culture of Magoffin County Schools. 

We have some of the brightest and most talented students in the world right here in Magoffin County.

We as a board feel as though it's our obligation to assure that our students are provided with the safest and most advanced education opportunity as possible, which in turn will prepare our students to become honest, tax-paying, law-abiding citizens, which impacts society in a positive way.


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