JCPS puts Newburg Middle teacher on leave after learning of her arrest in December


Meaghan Sutton

Newburg Middle School teacher Denise Negrus was charged with strangulation, public intoxication, and resisting arrest in December after she was arrested following reports of a domestic disturbance.

After her arrest, Negrus continued to teach at Newburg Middle School for over three months. When JCPS became aware of the incident on March 25 as a result of the RedEye investigation, Negrus was put on non-instructional duties.

According to the arrest report, Negrus’ ex-husband Andrei Negrus went to her home on December 14 because he suspected she was intoxicated while responsible for their children. He notified police, and when they arrived Negrus exited the house and began yelling at a woman in her ex-husband’s vehicle.

Officer Shane Bassett told Negrus to go back inside, but she did not comply. She “attempted to grab or strike” the woman in the vehicle, and then forcibly resisted arrest, according to the report.

While Bassett was transporting Negrus to Clark County Jail, she was verbally abusive and threatening, according to his report dated December 15 2013. She was found to have a blood alcohol content of .19.

“At first I was surprised after everyone was talking about it, then I realized that everyone makes mistakes,” said Armon Wells, a Newburg student currently in Negrus’ class. “Although she educates us, she still has a personal life and we don’t know what’s going on in her life, so I’m not in a position to judge,” Wells said.

Richard Wilson (9, HSU), who had Negrus as a teacher at Newburg, said he was also unsurprised by the charges. “She was rude and nasty at times to her students, but when officials came around her whole attitude would change,” Wilson said.

“I was actually shocked when I found out because she didn’t seem the type of person to do what she did,” said Jeannie Nguyen, another of Negrus’ students.

According to JCPS spokesperson Ben Jackey, there is no official procedure for notifying the district when a teacher is arrested, but the Department of Human Resources is working towards a solution on the issue.

“The superintendent has changed a lot of old policies which are out of date,” Jackey said. “These conversations have been going on for a while, and it is being addressed.”

According to Jackey, police departments will notify JCPS if they are aware they have arrested a JCPS teacher, but not every incident gets reported. “It really comes down to if we have contact with the law enforcement agency,” Jackey said. “When you’ve got a scenario that teachers aren’t communicating with JCPS, it’s possible that there are gaps.”

JCPS teachers are required to pass both a state and federal background check before being hired.

“I was surprised that no one at the school/school board did anything until now. Now I’m going to be more alert and cautious of my childrens’ teachers,” said Tina Nguyen, whose daughter attends Newburg.

Juanita Shackleford, whose daughter attended Newburg before coming to Manual, said she wished Negrus could have had access to counseling before her arrest. “I can just only pray that things get better with her personal life,” Shackleford said.

Newburg Middle School’s principal, Nicole Adell, declined to comment, and Denise Negrus could not be reached for comment.