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Connetquot teacher facing driving while drugged charges removed from classroom, district officials say

Eric A. Sweet, 36, of Westhampton, was found

Eric A. Sweet, 36, of Westhampton, was found unconscious in his car in Wading River on Aug. 31, 2015, police said. Credit: Riverhead Town Police

A Connetquot High School social studies teacher charged with driving while high on drugs has been reassigned to a job that doesn't involve interacting with students, district officials said.

Riverhead police said Eric A. Sweet, 36, of Westhampton, was found unconscious in his car in the parking lot of a McDonald's on Route 25A around noon on Aug. 31.

Police said someone called 911 after Sweet's vehicle drove over a curb in the parking lot.

Officers at the scene found that the vehicle was still in drive. Sweet was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center by the Wading River Fire Department, police said.

Connetquot school district Superintendent Lynda Adams sent a voice message to district parents Thursday advising that "Mr. Sweet was transferred out of the classroom and reassigned to a position that does not involve interaction with students."

She said reassigning Sweet is the most severe action the district can legally take at this time.

"We believe . . . that all staff members are perceived, consciously or unconsciously, as role models in the school and in the community, and that school employees must exemplify the positive benefits of a drug-free lifestyle," Adams said in the message. "We will continue to work tirelessly to educate our entire community to the dangers of drug abuse and to ensure all of our buildings and grounds remain a safe place for the education of your children."

In a statement released by a district spokeswoman on Wednesday, Adams said the "alleged incident . . . occurred during Mr. Sweet's personal time, without any connection to the school district. The district has taken measures to ensure that students will not be negatively impacted due to this occurrence."

Attempts to reach Sweet on Thursday were unsuccessful.

Police said Sweet was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a hypodermic needle.

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