Auburn principal placed on administrative leave after arrest

Auburn principal placed on administrative leave after arrest

LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - An Auburn middle school principal was placed on administrative leave until further notice late Thursday afternoon.

The action taken by Auburn City Schools Superintendent comes after comments were sought on the principal's arrest back in late August for suspected shoplifting.

According to Opelika police, Sandra Johnson Resa stole a cable cord valued at $39.99 from the Best Buy in Tiger Town. 

On Thursday morning, the longtime Auburn educator was still the acting principal at Auburn's J.W. Drake Middle School, according to Superintendent Dr. Karen DeLano.

However, a few hours after our interview with Dr. DeLano, she released this statement:

"Principal of J F Drake Middle School, Sandra Resa, has been placed on administrative leave until further notice. Auburn City Schools does not share personnel information. After being made aware of an incident involving Mrs. Resa, an appropriate investigation is being pursued."

Opelika Police confirm 51-year old Resa was arrested on August 30 for third degree theft of property at the Tiger Town Best Buy.

Police say she stole an 8 foot HDMI cable cord valued at $39.99 and there is video footage of the alleged shoplifting.

Opelika police will not release the video of surveillance footage showing the incident. A concerned citizen raised awareness to the incident Wednesday night, and the arrest was confirmed and Auburn City Schools was immediately reached for comment.

Superintendent Karen DeLano says she was made aware of an incident involving the principal Wednesday night, 11 days after Resa's arrest.

Dr. Delano would not confirm if our request for a comment Wednesday night kick started her investigation Thursday morning.

We asked Dr. Delano about Auburn City School policy as it relates to an employee's arrest – do they have to bring the matter to her attention immediately?
"Our policies can be found our website and you can read them. There is an Alabama Education Code of Ethics that is referred to in our policy. There are certain levels of circumstances that a person is to required to report and some are not," explained Delano.

Dr. Delano would not specify if theft of property third degree, a misdemeanor, requires immediate notification.

Meanwhile, comments on social media range from support for the longtime educator to disappointment.

Candace Collins posted, "She may have thought she put it down after deciding she didn't even want it. One mistake does not make her a bad person."

Liberty Powell posted, "Innocent until proven guilty. There has to be an explanation."

Ms. Ambus posted, "I hate that this happened to her, but she is supposed to be a role model that kids look up to."

Dr. DeLano had this to say about honesty within the school system.
"I think in our business integrity is of the utmost importance. I think I have demonstrated that in several instances in our school system over the least three years. It is very important to me and I think it's very important to our parents. We are role models for children."

Dr. DeLano will not comment on the incident specifically, she would only say Principal Resa has been placed on administrative leave and the investigation continues.

We did reach out to Principal Resa by calling Drake Middle School Thursday morning when she was still the acting principal there. We are still waiting on a call back.
Meanwhile, Resa made bond back on Aug. 30, shortly after her arrest. She is slated to face the charge in Opelika Municipal Court on Dec. 16.

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