State takes action against arrested Timberlane teacher | News | #teacher | #children | #kids


PLAISTOW — The New Hampshire Department of Education has suspended David Russell’s New Hampshire teaching credential and all associated endorsements, according to an announcement Tuesday.

Plaistow police have charged Russell, 63, with two counts of simple assault and a count of sexual assault. Records show he was arrested Dec. 15 after a Timberlane Regional High School student reported she was touched inappropriately.

Police wrote in a report, “he bumped into her and said he was sorry but then had his hand on her back and brought his hand to her butt.”

That same day, the alleged victim told police, Russell “grabbed her hips, where she could feel his hands on her butt and back.”

New Hampshire law includes a list of 20 criminal offenses that bar employment in education. Misdemeanor-level sexual assault, which Russell faces, is included.

The announcement from the state Department of Education notes that the administrative action against Russell was taken Dec. 17 — two days after his arrest.

Russell cannot gain employment in a certified teaching capacity in New Hampshire as long as his teaching certification is under suspension.

Until 2016, Russell taught nearby in Massachusetts. His teaching certification there expired before he came to New Hampshire.

He has never faced criminal charges, records show, but police complaints in North Andover name Russell in similar two investigations. The first was in 2010, when it was reported that Russell “gyrated and humped a student.”

“This turned into a report being made by numerous students to the North Andover Police Department of Russell looking down their shirts, cleavage area, and trying to look up their skirts,” Plaistow Det. Kyle Coakley wrote in a report of his own.

The case was closed April 9, 2010 — without criminal charges, records show. The reported actions were described by police as “conduct unbecoming,” but “not criminal.”

Another complaint, from 2016, says a girl claimed Russell followed her to a bathroom and told her to “keep doing your jumping jacks while you do your business.”

He was a physical education teacher at the time.

She said she could see through a stall that he was at the bathroom entrance holding the door open.

No criminal charges were brought then, either.

Questions remain about whether Russell did anything inappropriate in Nashua schools, where he worked for less than a year before starting at Timberlane.

Timberlane Human Resources Director Dana O’Gara, who also worked alongside Russell in Nashua, told Plaistow police she began calling Russell’s previous employers after his arrest.

She said she learned then, “Russell was let go due to touching young female students and thinking it was OK to give them therapeutic massages.”

Nashua police, however, said they never received a report of that nature involving Russell.

In announcing Russell’s suspension, the New Hampshire Department of Education noted that it’s required of all credential holders to report any suspected conduct violations.

“If there were individuals who failed to report, the department can, and will, take appropriate action upon their individual teaching credential,” the statement reads.

A new law passed last year and effective Jan. 1 now requires the state Department of Education to complete a criminal history records check on all new, first-time teacher applicants.

School districts will still be required to conduct another criminal history records check upon employment of an individual within that district.



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