PALM HARBOR — The dean of a Pinellas County charter school faces charges that he and his wife provided their teenage babysitter and her underage friends with alcohol and marijuana for two years, deputies say.
The couple left the teen with alcohol and marijuana while she babysat their two young children, then went out to bars and drank themselves, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Then they’d come home and smoke marijuana and drink some more, deputies say, this time with the babysitter — and sometimes with her teenage friends.
“Get drunk! Pass the (f--k) out!” said an October text message that deputies say wife Misty Mitchell-Thayer sent the teen. “If you want to smoke Adam has weed there.”
That would be her husband, Adam Thayer, the dean of students at Pinellas Academy of Math and Science at 1775 S Highland Ave. in Clearwater.
Thayer, 38, faces two counts of child neglect. His 37-year-old wife was arrested Friday afternoon on the same charges, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office did not say how the allegations came to light or when the investigation started. Pinellas Academy for Math and Science is a charter school, which means it receives public funds but is privately run. The school has a contract with the Pinellas County School Board, but operates independently with its own governing board and rules.
A Pinellas Academy staffer said Friday that school officials would not comment on the arrest. The Pinellas County School District said the school was contacting parents about the incident, and that it will check with the school to make sure it reports the arrest to the state Department of Education for potential disciplinary action.
The babysitter, whose name was not released by deputies, said it started when she was 15 and the couple’s twins were five. They left her at their home with access to alcohol and marijuana between 30 to 40 times, said the Sheriff’s Office.
The teen told deputies she would get so drunk — she’d slur her words and have trouble seeing — that she probably wouldn’t have been able to care for the children in an emergency.
The Thayers allowed the teen to drink vodka, whiskey and carbonated alcoholic drinks. Once, the teen told deputies, the couple poured her a glass of whiskey before they left the house.
When the couple returned home, they’d drink with the babysitter and let her invite her teen friends over. But the couple also let those friends drive impaired, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies say they collected text messages as evidence from the babysitter’s phone. The teen is now 17, and the couple’s children are now seven.
Thayer was booked into the Pinellas County jail and freed Friday after posting $10,000 bail.