UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — It seems every kid wanted to be in Mr. Bennett’s class. The 7th grade teacher is described as nice and funny.
“He was like chill and stuff and he was cool,” said Miles Spivey, a student at Drum Intermediate School for 5th, 6th, and 7th graders. “And he has a good reputation for a teacher.”
Students said the only thing unusual were his eyes, which were often red. Police say the 33-year-old Brian Bennett now admits to not only using heroin at the school, but dealing drugs in the community. A task force, including Tacoma police, DEA, and the FBI, arrested Bennett near his home and later searched his condo.
“They were able to recover some Oxycodone pills, and some heroin,” said Loretta Cool, spokeswoman for the Tacoma Police Department.
Officers said Bennett told them he would deal drugs during school hours but off-campus and never to students. That doesn’t make it any less shocking to parents and kids who attend Drum Intermediate.
“It’s nerve-wracking, especially with my daughter going here,” said Brian Woods. “Sometimes you don’t know what happens, and the next thing you know this is going on.”
Bennett was booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and possession, but at this point no formal charges have been filed.
University Place Schools Superintendent Patti Banks said Bennett had been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
Banks said they were “shocked and saddened” to hear the news and that she was unaware of any problems with him in the past.