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Teacher arrested in hidden camera scandal

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A state charter school teacher is in trouble, accused of putting a hidden camera inside a bathroom to record his female students and it may have been happening for weeks.

Houston police arrested Craig McDonald at Yzaguirre School for Success in southeast Houston Monday morning as he was getting out of his car. Students, faculty and parents were absolutely stunned when they heard the allegations against the 59-year-old teacher, who by all accounts was very well respected.

Students at the Raul Yzaguirre charter school thought so highly of Craig McDonald that two years ago they voted him teacher of the year.

Superintendant Richard Farias said, "He would always volunteer for extra duty. He was aspiring to be an administrator."

Yet McDonald's days of teaching high school geography and American history here may be over now that police found a wireless camera hidden inside a smoke detector in a bathroom used by his students.

Farias said, "He found a hole that had been drilled into the smoke detector to make room for the lens of the camera, which, in fact, was aimed directly at the commode."

The superintendent says last Tuesday two students got suspicious and told a teacher that every time a female student used the bathroom, McDonald would look down at a monitor underneath his desk.

"It's sick," Farias said. "It's very disappointing. I think he made victims of our students and of our school."

No one answered the door at McDonald's home in Spring. Police told us that on Monday they executed a search warrant and seized computers which will have to be digitally analyzed by forensics. The allegations have sparked outrage and concern amongst parents and students.

"It's disturbing, especially since it's here," said parent Anner Vallenilla. "I want to read the note or find out a little bit more."

A letter was sent home to parents today. McDonald has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal investigation. He faces a felony charge of improper photography with visual recording.

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