PITTSTON — Disciplinary actions enforced earlier this month against a Pittston Area High School teacher were the result of an alleged inappropriate relationship with a student, a school board official confirmed Monday.
The official, who requested anonymity due to ongoing investigations into the accusations by the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office and from within the school district, said mathematics teacher Colleen McGarry, 44, was suspended without pay following an alleged relationship with a female student who was under the age of 18.
District solicitor Sam Falcone would not confirm whether McGarry was the teacher suspended March 2, but said the school district continues to “very thoroughly” investigate the incident.
“We’re taking it very seriously and leaving no stone unturned,” Falcone said, adding there was no timetable for when the investigation might conclude. The individual remained suspended without pay Monday, he said.
Whether the investigation will result in criminal charges remains unknown. Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis said she could not comment on the matter when reached Monday.
McGarry, of Pittston, did not return a message seeking comment.
According to the school district’s website, McGarry teaches 11th and 12th grade mathematics, including advanced and honors classes. She also spent several years coaching girls athletics at the high school.
McGarry’s hiring in 1997 drew criticism after she received a full-time teaching job the day she received her bachelor’s degree from Wilkes University. McGarry, who was 26 at the time, was selected over several district substitutes on a 6-3 vote by the school board.
A resume provided to the Times Leader at the time indicated McGarry was a tutor at South Scranton Intermediate School and the varsity basketball coach for North Pocono High School. She was head summer league varsity basketball coach at Wyoming Seminary from 1993 to 1995 and helped coach the varsity basketball and softball teams at Hanover Area to championships in 1995.
McGarry, a former Seton Catholic and Wilkes University standout, was named head girls basketball coach in 1998. She was succeeded as head girls basketball coach by Gerald Chickeletti in 2006 and resigned as coach of the girl’s softball team in 2012, according to the Times Leader archives.
While coaching varsity basketball, McGarry received a two-game suspension in February 2000 for saying “a bad word” during halftime of a game against Wyoming Area, McGarry told the Times Leader on Feb. 17, 2000. McGarry said she apologized for her comment at the end of the game.
Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL.