Pennsylvania School Administrators Resign over Secret Room

BENTLEYVILLE, Pa. -- Police are criticizing school officials for not telling them soon enough about a secret room at a high school where students hung out after school, and where two marijuana butts and a six-inch folding knife were found.

Bentleyville police Lt. Mark Kavakich said he will file complaints with the state Department of Education against Bentworth High School principal Kevin Fortuna and school Superintendent Thomas Turnbaugh, who resigned Monday without saying why. The school officials violated state law by not notifying police in a timely manner about a weapon found on school property, Kavakich said.

Turnbaugh refused to assist police in the investigation and prevented police from obtaining evidence about who did what in the room, Kavakich said.

School officials referred comment to solicitor Ira Weiss, who said the district has hired a private security firm to investigate the handling of the incident.

The room, reached by a crawl space and located between the boys' and girls' locker rooms, was discovered in January.

Last month, 15 students were disciplined, but Kavakich said rumors were untrue that the room was used for hazing and for students to meet for sex.

Kavakich said a camera found in the room contained one photo of a student using "poor judgment," but he declined to elaborate. There was no evidence of students or staff using the room to spy on students in the nearby locker rooms, he said.

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