Wicomico Co. Superintendent responds to sexual assault allegations against James M. Bennett guidance counselor

SALISBURY, Md. –  At Monday’s State of the Schools address, Wicomico County’s Superintendent Donna Hanlin addressed the recent sexual assault allegations against Salisbury high school guidance counselor Allen Edward Mitchell.

Hanlin opened the address by commenting on the incident, stating, “The arrest of a James M. Bennett High School guidance counselor based on his alleged egregious abuse of minors has devastated parents, staff, students, our board and our community. As a school system we do everything within our power to prevent such acts from occurring and we will continue to do so, because the safety and well-being of our students is first and foremost in our charge in our mission. Those of you that know me well know that open communication and transparency is of utmost importance to me. So I have found myself not only devastated by what has occurred, but more than frustrated by the legal restrictions on communication on matters like this. We persevere by reminding ourselves that the outcome of a thorough investigation of these matters is what is most important, to allow the investigation by law enforcement and the state’s attorney to find the truth that will lead to fair and just consequences is what matters the most. Those outcomes will impact the health and well-being of our students and of our school system and I am confident that because of our resilience our school system will ultimately weather this storm as I indicated to parents in a school-wide phone message, and to students and staff via the all school television broadcast. I know from personal experience that through an all hands on deck support approach the school community will remain JMB strong. Thank you for understanding that I will not speak to personnel matters nor will I interfere with the current ongoing investigation by making any further comments.”

Mitchell was arrested on rape and child pornography charges earlier this month. And shortly after, the school’s principal and vice principal were placed on administrative leave.

The original story on Mitchell’s arrest can be found here.

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