• Salem teacher on leave following charges of letting teens drink

    by  • March 18, 2013 • News

    A Salem school teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave after she was charged last week in Marion County Court with allowing minors to drink alcohol in her home.

    A Kindergarten teacher at Hawthorn Elementary School, 39-year-old Wendy Bunnell reportedly allowed friends of her high school freshman son to consume alcohol on March 2, at her Salem home, which is a violation of the Illinois Liquor Control Act.

    None of the children at the party attend the school where Bunnell teaches, as they were all local high school students.

    The case came to the attention of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, which launched an investigation into the party based upon information indicating a consensual sexual encounter took place between Bunnell and one of the students at the party.

    When the investigation indicated the student is 17-years-old and the age of consent, the investigation turned to the alcohol being consumed by minors.

    A detective reportedly discovered the allegations through social media. Bunnell has been formally charged with two misdemeanors, one for being a parent permitting the use of her home to be used for an underage drinking party and giving or selling liquor to a minor. Bunnell is due in court April 4, before Judge Sherri Tungate, to answer to the charges.

    Reports indicate Bunnell’s husband was home at the time of the party, but he was asleep.