Crime

Oakdale High School teacher arrested after allegations of alcohol-fueled party

A teacher at Oakdale High School was cited and released a year ago by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department on suspicion of hosting an alcohol-fueled party for teenagers at her Escalon home.
A teacher at Oakdale High School was cited and released a year ago by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department on suspicion of hosting an alcohol-fueled party for teenagers at her Escalon home. jlee@modbee.com

An Oakdale High School teacher has been arrested on charges she hosted a party over the weekend where juveniles were served alcohol.

Leandra Spence, who is a special education teacher, was cited and released on three misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, said Deputy Pete Smith of the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department. She has been put on leave, authorities with the Oakdale Joint Unified School District said in a news release issued Monday.

One boy, 16, suffered alcohol poisoning and was taken, unconscious, to a local hospital, according to his mother.

Spence hosted the party at her home in Escalon, said the mother of the boy, who asked not to be identified. It was supposed to be a birthday party for Spence’s teenage daughter.

The mother of the boy said she allowed her son to attend the party because it was hosted by a teacher and she was assured that there would be no drinking.

She said her son’s friend called to tell her the boy had been drinking and was unresponsive. She arrived at the home about 10:45 p.m. and found her son on the back porch.

“She was providing excessive amounts of alcohol to 30-plus high school students,” the boy’s mother said. “She was pouring shots.”

The mother said Spence was pouring shots of Jägermeister, a German liquor, and Smirnoff vodka. “And there were beer pong tables and cases of beer everywhere.”

Her son arrived at the hospital at 11 p.m. and was there until 4 a.m. A test showed a blood alcohol level of 0.25.

The mother said she has spoken with administrators at Oakdale High School, as well as investigators with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s and District Attorney’s offices.

Deputies initially responded to the hospital, where a family member of the boy called them, before going out to the Lemon Avenue house.

Spence was cited and released at the scene, Smith said.

“We do have an open investigation on it at this point,” he said, adding that the matter will be sent to the District Attorney’s Office and further charges could follow. Smith said authorities notified Oakdale High School officials of the incident.

In response to a request regarding Spence’s status, the school district issued a news release stating, in part, “The Oakdale Joint Unified School District has been informed about the allegations of a district employee hosting a party on January 28, 2017, where underage attendees at the party consumed alcohol. ... The employee has been placed on administrative leave. Other than these reported allegations, the District is unaware of any specific facts involving the reported incident.”

Bee staff writer Nan Austin contributed to this report.

Patty Guerra: 209-578-2343, @PattyGuerra

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