What if we had zero tolerance for laws that have a lot of ugly side effects? Like busting an amazing teacher in front of her kids… for finding a couple Xanax pills… in a suspicion-less search of her car.
Herrick, 59, has taught at Roberts for 17 years. Parents describe her as “inspirational,” “talented” and “loving.”
She comes to work early so kids can finish projects they didn’t have time to complete in class. So many kids wanted to join her after-school art club that it had to be restricted to fifth-graders. More than one parent tells how she dropped by a student’s house, bearing art books that she thought might be of interest.
She’s a ferocious doubles tennis player, nationally ranked, so fanatical about her game that she hesitated a year before taking cholesterol meds that her doctor prescribed.
In 1995 and 1999, Herrick was Roberts’ teacher of the year. For 2005-06, she was teacher of the year for HISD’s entire Central District. And in 2009, she was busted.
In the middle of a class, police escorted her from her classroom. After she unlocked her car, police found a baggie with two Xanax pills.
Herrick said she has no idea how the pills got into her car, which other people in her family drive.
But no matter. She was hauled away from the school she loves in the back of a squad car and charged with possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school. If convicted of that third-degree felony, she could serve two to 10 years in prison.
Even though she’s passed the drug test and a lie detector test, she’s out of the classroom for the time being. As Pete Guither writes, “It’s, you know, for the kids.”
What if she does have a Xanax problem? Having teachers like this lady, personal habits and all, is what builds kids that never need to try drugs. How about the experience of watching your favorite teacher taken to jail? or growing up a paramilitary police state?