Teachers Accused of Smoking Pot Say It Was A Cigarette - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Teachers Accused of Smoking Pot Say It Was A Cigarette

Benjamin Ayson Benjamin Ayson
Lisa Luhrsen Lisa Luhrsen
David Gierlach, Ayson's attorney David Gierlach, Ayson's attorney
Mililani Middle School Mililani Middle School

By: Minna Sugimoto

(KHNL) - They say it wasn't a marijuana joint, but a cigarette. Two Oahu teachers accused of getting high before school are maintaining their innocence.

His attorneys says the 32-year-old enjoys his job as a language arts and physical education teacher at Mililani Middle.

"I think he values it a great deal, and he recognizes that he's a role model for students," David Gierlach, Ayson's attorney, said. "And to have this kind of allegation out there has been very distressing to him."

He says Ayson and fellow teacher, 36-year-old Lisa Luhrsen were not smoking marijuana when they were spotted in his car off campus. He says they were smoking a Benson and Hedges cigarette.

"As I understand it, they had one cigarette left," Gierlach said. "They're both smokers, and that's what they were sharing. And apparently, somebody got a misimpression."

Police say officers had probable cause to arrest, and have forwarded the case to prosecutors.

"What else the police may have found or, I don't know, I won't see any kind of reports until after the arraignment," Gierlach said.

The school says the accused teachers were scheduled to have a work day without students Monday. They're now on department-directed leave.

"Obviously, it's a cause for concern when there's an allegation about a teacher using drugs before school," Gierlach said. "And that's why I'm here talking to you today, to say that that didn't happen."

The union representing Hawaii's public school teachers says it does not support mandatory drug testing.

Ayson and Luhrsen are scheduled to make their first court appearance December 26th.

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