NEW PORT RICHEY — A J.W. Mitchell High School biology teacher and a former school secretary face misdemeanor charges over their reported involvement in a house party where students were drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages, according to court records.
The charges against teacher Samantha Murchie, 43, and former secretary Lynn Worker, 52, both of New Port Richey, were filed June 17 by the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office, court records show.
The charge the two face is allowing minors to drink alcohol at an open house party, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail.
The party happened after the school’s prom between midnight and 3 a.m. April 27, but school officials didn’t find out about it until the school resource officer got word at the end of the day May 2, a Friday, according to a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office report.
He launched an investigation that Monday and determined about 30 to 40 students were at the party at Worker’s house and some were drinking, the report said. Worker and Murchie, who was also at the house, both denied any knowledge of the drinking, the report said.
Murchie told authorities she was at the house to pick up her son.
At that time, the resource officer referred the case to the state attorney’s office for possible charges. Meanwhile, the Pasco County school district placed Murchie on paid leave.