Ringgold Elementary South

Ringgold Elementary School South is shown in this screenshot from Google Maps.

An art teacher at Ringgold Elementary School South in Carroll Township was among the 39 people charged with drug trafficking by federal prosecutors as participants in an interstate cocaine ring.

Renee Kinder, 45, of Donora, who was also assigned to teaching students how to use the library, was charged with possession of more than 500 grams of cocaine and intent to distribute it between March and December of last year.

Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh announced indictments against 39 people – many from Washington and parts of the Mon Valley – on Wednesday in connection with what they described as a major interstate drug-trafficking ring that allegedly brought hundreds of kilos of cocaine into the region.

U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady recommended unsecured bond for Kinder and a dozen other defendants be set at $25,000 after a federal grand jury returned indictments this week into the drug ring.

Ringgold School District Acting Superintendent Randy Skrinjorich, in a prepared statement, said, “The safety of our students is always our first priority. We are investigating this serious matter and appropriate measures are being taken.

“This individual is not permitted on school district property at this time.”

On Wednesday, the defendants were either apprehended and taken into custody or a public attempt was made to arrest them, according to a federal docket entry by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Lanni to unseal the indictment.

Kinder was among six teachers and paraprofessionals listed in a letter sent to parents at the beginning of the school year as a participant in remedial instruction to brush up students’ skills in reading and math to improve academics overall and “develop a partnership that will help children achieve the state’s high standards.”

According to an Observer-Reporter news story at the time, Kinder was hired by the district in August 2006 as a kindergarten teacher at the Donora Elementary Center at a salary of $24,800.

Staff Writer

Staff Writer Barbara S. Miller is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College. She covers Washington County government, courts and general assignments.

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