This is Lisa Cunha, a teacher at Wareham High School.
In 2007 she was a teacher at New Bedford Vocational Technical High School, but lost her job there after being arrested on a marijuana possession charge. I don’t care about weed, and neither does anyone with half a brain, so that shouldn’t disqualify her from teaching elsewhere. But the troubling part was that she had a 19 year old student living with her and lied to police about it:
A former Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational-Technical High School teacher was arraigned Wednesday on a charge of possession of marijuana. Lisa Cunha, 33, of 12 Priscilla St. was released on personal recognizance and ordered to return Jan. 9 to New Bedford District Court. In October, Ms. Cunha was issued a summons to appear in court after police found marijuana and paraphernalia used in street-level drug dealing inside her home, court records said.
New Bedford police Officer Justin Kagan went to Ms. Cunha’s home Oct. 4 to search for illegal substances after Shayne Dextradeur, 19, a former student of Ms. Cunha, was arrested on a charge of marijuana possession. Mr. Dextradeur, a 2006 GNB Voc-Tech graduate, told police he was living in Ms. Cunha’s home, according to police records.
Inside Ms. Cunha’s apartment, Officer Kagan confiscated nine burned marijuana cigarettes, a scale, a large plastic bag containing marijuana residue and 56 empty plastic “dime” bags, according to police records. Ms. Cunha, an office technology teacher at GNB Voc-Tech, was subsequently placed on administrative leave pending an internal school investigation. GNB Voc-Tech Superintendent Michael R. Shea told The Standard-Times Wednesday that Ms. Cunha has since resigned.
“At this point, Ms. Cunha is no longer employed here at the school,” Mr. Shea said. “Since she’s resigned, the investigation has stopped.”
Ms. Cunha told police in October that she did not know the drugs and paraphernalia were inside her home, court records said. In a three-page statement she wrote that was placed in her court file, Ms. Cunha said Mr. Dextradeur often visited her house but did not live there. Police said Mr. Dextradeur listed his address as 12 Priscilla St. when he was arrested. Ms. Cunha wrote that he lived with his grandparents in Freetown. Court records from this year list 12 Priscilla St. and two other New Bedford residences where Mr. Dextradeur said he lived.
On the day he was arrested, Ms. Cunha said Mr. Dextradeur went to her house during the afternoon and stayed there while she took her children to soccer practice. She wrote she came home that night after picking up food and received a phone call from Mr. Dextradeur asking her to provide bail for him at police headquarters on Rockdale Avenue.
Ms. Cunha said police asked to go to her house to see if any illegal substances were there to prevent Mr. Dextradeur from “starting up again,” according to her letter. She said police told her it had nothing to do with her, and that there would be no further charges brought against Mr. Dextradeur if anything was in the home.
So this kid got busted with pot and the first person he thought to call to bail him out was his former teacher? Oh yea, nothing shady going on there. He just happens to live there and keep all his pot there too. She claimed that he didn’t live there, he just visited a lot. Because lots of teachers get visited at their homes regularly by last year’s students, and they let them keep their pot stash there too. Oh, and she let him stay in the house while she was bringing her kids to soccer practice, but he totally didn’t live there.
Again, I don’t care about the pot and it’s crazy to think that 15 years ago this is something people cared about. The alarming part was that some kid named Shayne, who of course was a stoner who attended vocational school, was living in her apartment. Shayne Dextradeur was apparently the star of the basketball team, which means he was probably the cool kid in school, which tells me everything I need to know about Lisa Cunha.
She clearly lied to police when she said she didn’t know that there was pot in the house. The kid wasn’t just smoking it, he was selling it. There were 9 roaches, a scale, and 56 individual dime bags. There is no possible way she didn’t know what was going on.
Anyway, she was forced to resign and was charged with a crime, but somehow managed to get a job teaching at Wareham High School where she’s been ever since. Guess they don’t do background checks there. She runs a student group at WHS called Wareham DECA, an organization aimed to help prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs interested in business careers to help boost their knowledge in business. They go on overnight trips for events and Cunha is constantly taking selfies with her and the kids in hotel rooms, bathrooms, and other places that seem inappropriate given her past. For instance, why would you ever go in a kid’s hotel room and take a selfie?
That kid happens to be around the same age as the New Bedford kid she groomed 15 years ago. She seems to be fond of him.
It’s never appropriate to have your arms all over a student like that, or take selfies in a hotel room with them. But it’s even worse if you lost your last job because the captain of the basketball team was living at your house and smoking doobies on your couch. I’m sure all they did was smoke pot though. That’s normal.
Here she is holding hands with another male teenager.
Why? Why would you ever hold a student’s fingers like that while posing for a picture?
Mike Giannetti may be the selfie king, but we’ve found the selfie queen. We got staircase selfies.
Bathroom selfies with some kid in his pajamas.
Duckface hotel fun.
And staying out until 2 AM with a bunch of kids.
This woman is almost 50 and being perceived as the cool teacher is clearly something she values. If you have any desire to seek the social approval of high school students then you went into teaching for the wrong reasons.
She’s the same way with her bestie daughter when they’re going shopping after some brunch and sangrias.
We get it – you’re not like the rest of the Moms, you’re the cool Mom. The kind of cool Mom who lets recent high school graduates live in their apartment and smoke weed all day.
I was 24 when I first started teaching at Shepherd Hill and the first thing I was told was to never be alone in your classroom with a student of the opposite sex. I would never in a million years go in a kid’s hotel room and start taking selfies with them. When kids asked to take pictures with me at graduation I kept my hands to my side and smiled like a normal, professional adult. Here I am chaperoning the prom the same year Lisa Cunha was getting baked with teenagers in her apartment.
I had zero desire to be perceived as cool to the juniors that I taught because it’s not what I was there to do. My students thought I was lame, but serious, and that’s the way I liked it.
I’m sure this blog will not go over well with the DECA kids at Wareham who probably love her because she’s the hip teacher who knows how to use a Snapchat filter. But when they get older they’ll realize how weird and inappropriate this is. I wouldn’t let my kids go on a trip with this woman, and it’s insane that Wareham High School is cool with her posting these all over social media.