Va. teaching assistant charged with selling marijuana to 13-year-old student

- A teaching assistant and basketball coach in the Arlington Public Schools system has been arrested for smoking marijuana with a 13-year-old juvenile along with selling it to him, police said.

Arlington County police have charged 32-year-old Zachary Van Dyke with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and distribution of marijuana.

According to police, Van Dyke's arrest stems from an incident last Friday where he drove the teenage victim to his home last Friday where they smoked marijuana.

FOX 5's Tisha Lewis said the 13-year-old was in one of Van Dyke's classes he worked in.

Van Dyke is a teaching assistant at Gunston Middle School and a freshman basketball coach at Washington-Lee High School. Arlington Public Schools has suspended Van Dyke pending the outcome of the investigation.

Police and school officials said there could be additional victims connected to Van Dyke.

"We believe that he has interacted with lots of different juveniles here at the school at Washington-Lee," said Ashley Savage, spokesperson for the Arlington County Police Department.

For parents who suspect Van Dyke was providing marijuana to their child, but fear their child could face legal consequences if they come forward, Savage said, "We want them to remember that this is a juvenile that got the marijuana from an adult -- we want to look at that. That is the greater issue here than the juvenile that has it."

Gunston Middle School principal Dr. Lori Wiggins sent a letter home to parents saying:

Greetings Gunston Community,

I deeply regret that I have to send this message to you, but your child’s safety is of the utmost importance to all of us at Gunston Middle School. One of our teacher assistants was arrested yesterday on a drug-related charge. Currently, the teacher assistant has been suspended, pending the outcome of the Arlington County Police Department’s investigation. Arlington Public Schools is cooperating fully with the investigation.

We are working with the Office of Student Services, the APS Substance Abuse Counselor, and the counseling department to be responsive to and support of our students. We have been in contact with the families that were affected by this situation.

Some of our students may have been directly affected by the teacher assistant’s actions. If you or your student has any information that may be helpful to the investigation, I urge you to contact Detective Proud in the Arlington County Police Department at 703-228-7156 or by email at sproud@arlingtonva.us. To report information anonymously, please contact Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS (8477).

If there are any questions I can answer, or if you have concerns, please feel free to contact me.  I can be reached by email at lori.wiggins@apsva.us, or by telephone at 703-228-6900. If you would like to arrange a meeting, I will be happy to meet with you.

Van Dyke is being held on bond at the Arlington County Detention Facility.

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