April 16, 2014

Partly cloudy

Marijuana allegedly grown at teacher’s house

MEDINA — A Claggett Middle School math teacher resigned Friday after she was accused of allowing her husband to grow marijuana at their Litchfield Township home.

Katie Hill-Asaro, 27, of 8453 Spieth Road, was charged last month with permitting her husband, Vito Asaro, to cultivate and sell marijuana.

Katie Hill-Asaro

Vito Asaro

It’s the second time within a year that a Medina middle school teacher has been charged with growing marijuana at home.

Medina Schools interim Superintendent Dave Knight said the school board will accept her resignation at Monday’s meeting.

“It’s discouraging when something like this happens,” he said. “Rest assured, this will be resolved soon and it won’t drag on.”

The investigation into Hill-Asaro and her husband was launched after an undercover agent reported purchasing marijuana from Asaro on July 24 while at the Spieth Road home the couple shared, Medina County Drug Task Force Director Gary Hubbard said.

“We started an investigation because we believed someone was growing marijuana at the home,” he said. “We got enough information to get a search warrant and executed the warrant.”

Task force members searched the home Aug. 14 and reported finding 28 plants growing on the 4-acre property.

According to the Medina County Auditor’s Office, Hill-Asaro purchased the home in May.

Hubbard said Hill-Asaro was cooperative with law enforcement during the search of the property and the arrest.

“I think she understands the seriousness of the charges against her,” he said.

A Medina County grand jury indicted Hill-Asaro on a count of permitting drug abuse — a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to a year in prison and a $7,500 fine.

Her husband was indicted on cultivation of marijuana and drug trafficking charges, fifth-degree felonies.

Hill-Asaro is scheduled to appear for an arraignment Friday morning in Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler’s court.

She and her husband are free on bond.

Knight said Hill-Asaro began teaching eighth-grade math at Claggett in September 2009 but was laid off at the end of the year because of budget cutbacks.

Knight said she was brought back for the 2012-13 school year and served well.

“She’s had a good performance review, and we were glad to have her back after she was laid off for two years,” he said. “We were greatly surprised by the arrest.”

Knight said because Hill-Asaro was arrested the week before school started, the district put her on paid administrative leave and were able to hire a long-term substitute to take her place.

“We were able to find a very good substitute who could jump in at the last minute and fill her role,” he said.

Knight acknowledged having two teachers charged with marijuana cultivation within a year was unusual.

“We have over 760 staff members and people make bad decisions,” he said. “It’s just very regrettable that those people around them are negatively impacted by those decisions.”

In January, A.I. Root Middle School teacher Shannon Briggs pleaded no contest in Elyria Municipal Court to misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct persisting and possession of drug paraphernalia.

She was given a suspended jail sentence, fined $500 and ordered to undergo substance abuse treatment and placed on probation for a year.

Her husband, Matthew Briggs, was charged with felony cultivation of marijuana after police reported discovering marijuana plants and pipes in the couple’s North Ridgeville home. The case is pending in Lorain County Common Pleas Court.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

  • Wake up Medina

    Buzz, buzz, buzz….so this is what Knight is referring to in those recorded messages he sends out to the community, where he is buzzing into the phone. He’s referring to his teachers buzzed on marijuana. Two cultivating marijuana, geeze, do you think there is a problem here? At least these two teachers and Knight have something else in common, all three can not vote for the levy. Buzz, buzz, buzz…….

  • lookingallaroundme

    I wonder how many people throughout our society smoke the stuff. I am betting on plenty. I think we would find teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, police, business people, you name it all occasionally lighting up. Why are we still spending kabillions potentially incarcerating these people? Our prisons are exploding from overpopulation, mostly from these victim-less crimes. The article reads as if this woman was good at her job. These things just don’t add up for me.

  • Timeforachange

    I think itu2019s time for a reform in thenUnited States. nn**41 percent of the U.S. population say they’ve tried cannabis at least once inntheir lives, 10 percent say they’ve used it in the last year.nnI guess it is okay for our government to pick and choose which vices are okaynfor the people of this country. Drive by any pub or bar in this town or anynother and their packed with people. Cigarettes are proven to cause cancer andnmany other health problems, why are those not banned yet? I could go on withnother vices but my main point is that this is supposed to be a free country, isnit not? There is also a national banking reform for states which cannabis isnlegal, allowing banks to loosen restrictions on the money being generated fromnthis new business (http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/51046/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=10509).nNow 20 states are medical, two which recreational, one being the capitol ofnthis country (http://www.governing.com/gov-data/safety-justice/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.)nn Yes maybe there were some bad decisionsnmade here, but please do your research on this topic and how laws are changingnin American.

  • OhioGuy10

    Wow! Cannot understand the acceptance of this by some in society. It is against the law! We have had multiple teachers get arrested for it. Something is wrong. Is there anything wrong with having random drug testing in the next contract? We need to stop this and the union should be behind it unless they are in favor of teachers supplementing their income with selling weed. Come on Union, speak up now!

  • Lisa

    Why does a teacher involved in a drug charge get a paid administrative leave???? Just curious……

  • OhioGuy10

    Part of the contract. We have the highest paid teachers in the county, lowest test scores, and best contract for teachers. Way to go Medina!