Teacher's suicide linked to investigation into relationship with student

A teacher at Drake Middle School in Arvada who took her own life Tuesday - was being investigated for a suspected inappropriate relationship with a student

KUSA - ARVADA, Colo. -- A teacher at Drake Middle School in Arvada who took her own life Tuesday afternoon was being investigated by law enforcement for a suspected inappropriate relationship with a student, 9Wants to Know has learned.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office tells 9Wants to Know that on Monday the department’s school resource officer “was made aware of the possible inappropriate relationship between a female employee at Drake Middle School and a male student.”

In its statement, the sheriff’s office didn’t identify the employee being investigated. But multiple sources confirm to 9Wants to Know that Gretchen Krohnfeldt was the subject of the investigation.

The Jefferson County School District sent out a letter late Tuesday to Drake Middle School parents saying Krohnfeldt suddenly passed away.

According to the sheriff’s statement, the school resource officer was told that the suspected relationship began when the student attended Drake Middle School. The student is now at a high school in Arvada.

The investigation revealed that the alleged physical relationship between Krohnfeldt and the student occurred in Arvada.

Arvada police and the sheriff’s office are working together to figure out what happened.

According to Krohnfeldt’s resume’ posted on the school website, she was born and raised in Arvada. She has three children.

Krohnfeldt’s online resume said she’s been teaching in Jefferson County since 1993. She’s taught social studies, English language arts, as well as reading intervention.

You can read the full statement about the incident from Jefferson County Public Schools here: 

On Monday, May 8, a school staff member reported a possible relationship between one Jeffco student and a teacher at Drake Middle School. The principal immediately called law enforcement and school district personnel. The teacher was immediately placed on administrative leave.  We were informed that on Tuesday, May 9, the teacher passed away.

We will continue to investigate this matter and coordinate our efforts with law enforcement.  This investigation is in its infancy and the known facts are very limited.

Our main focus is supporting our staff and students that have been deeply impacted by this tragedy.

You can read the full statement from Arvada Police below: 

On Monday, May 8th, a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer was made aware of a possible inappropriate relationship between a female employee at Drake Middle School and a male student. The allegations were that the relationship began when the student attended Drake Middle School. The student is now in high school in Arvada.  Through the course of the investigation, it was alleged that a physical relationship occurred between the two in the City of Arvada. The Arvada Police Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office are working jointly on this investigation. Further information will be released as it becomes available.

9News Psychologist, Dr. Max Wachtel, says when a teacher enters a relationship with a student it can have long-lasting effects on the young person no matter their gender.

“People don’t realize that the male victims, the boys are just as negatively affected as the girls, the female victims, so they have the same kind of mental health issues in life, post-traumatic stress, eating disorders, problems with their own relationships,” he said.

Wachtel said a lot of times the child victims can be confused and oblivious to the fact that the relationship is not healthy or legal.

“In the moment, a lot of the times they do not think of themselves as a victim. They think that they are in love too, and don’t think that they are being taken advantage of. It’s not until later on that some of the major problems hit,” said Wachtel.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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