Winnacunnet High School

Winnacunnet High School

HAMPTON — A former English teacher at Winnacunnet High School has voluntarily surrendered his teaching license after he was accused of having an “inappropriate relationship” with a student many years ago.

In a letter to the school community issued Tuesday, Superintendent William Lupini revealed that Peter Thomes was placed on administrative leave in August after the state Department of Education began investigating a complaint involving a former student.

The complaint alleged that Thomes had engaged in conduct that violates the New Hampshire Code of Conduct for Educational Professionals.

Thomes resigned effective Nov. 8.

“This matter was originally brought to our attention by the former student, who reported this to school officials for the first time in early August. After meeting with her and upon hearing her recollections of experiences with Mr. Thomes, we immediately notified the New Hampshire Department of Education. We fully cooperated with the department’s investigation to help facilitate a proper resolution of this matter,” Lupini wrote.

The state’s updated educator licensure revocation list released on Dec. 2 indicated that Thomes’ educator credential was “voluntarily surrendered,” which resulted in the DOE revoking the license following the allegations that Thomes had an “inappropriate relationship with a student,” Lupini wrote in his letter, which quoted from the revocation list.

Lupini declined to provide a specific time frame for the alleged inappropriate conduct for privacy reasons, but said it was alleged to have occurred years ago.

The case was reviewed by Hampton police.

“The issue was brought to our attention and we interviewed the former student and there were no allegations of criminal conduct that occurred in the town of Hampton,” Hampton Police Chief Rich Sawyer said.

Thomes lives in Wells, Maine. Wells police would neither confirm nor deny whether they were investigating any allegations.

In the wake of the allegations, Lupini said the administration is reviewing policies and reporting procedures with respect to interactions among staff. He added that Winnacunnet and other schools in School Administrative Unit 21 are safe for students and staff.

“We take any allegation of inappropriate conduct extremely seriously and will always investigate such assertions and in a manner which respects the rights of all parties,” he wrote.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Tuesday, February 25, 2020