Community reacts to JMB principal facing criminal charge

SALISBURY, Md. – The criminal charge Amy Eskridge is facing for allegedly interfering with suspected abuse of a student is the latest allegation coming out of James M. Bennett High School.

JMB senior Italy Chandler says, “It’s just crazy because when you see a principal everyday you don’t think that they do stuff like that.”

A community is in shock after learning that Eskridge is facing a criminal charge.

“The criminal charge is for intentionally interfering with suspected abuse of a student while employed as the principal at Bennett,” says Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis.

Eskridge was placed on administrative leave just days after news broke that JMB guidance counselor Allen Mitchell was slapped with felony charges involving alleged sexual abuse and assault of minors while working at the high school.

“Hopefully she is innocent but for her to interfere in that it’s not acceptable,” says Lisa Reece, a concerned resident.

Another resident, Christian Phillips says, “Unfortunately I feel like you hear about it all too often lately.”

Wicomico County Public Schools declined an interview Thursday, but did release this statement saying, “Wicomico Schools was notified on Wednesday of news regarding a criminal charge concerning principal Amy Eskridge. Ms. Eskridge is on administrative leave, and Wicomico County Public Schools does not comment on personnel matters.”

And while Eskridge is innocent until proven guilty, Chandler says, “I feel like she did because if she didn’t she wouldn’t be on administrative leave. Ms.Nathan and Mr. Bailey, they didn’t leave, I feel like the people that knew something about it they left.”

Although many we spoke to Thursday say they hope it isn’t true.

Reece says, “I have grandchildren in school now and I’d be very upset to know that she didn’t follow through in the right protocol.”

“Innocent until proven guilty but I hope whoever is to blame for anything is held accountable,” adds Phillips.

If Eskridge is found guilty, she could be facing up to five years behind bars and a fine of $10,000. We have not received an update yet on other faculty also placed on leave, but Eskridge is set to appear in court next month.

JMB Asst. Principal Erin Nathan is acting principal until this is all sorted out.


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