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Former Gig Harbor principal says he’ll seek rehab following arrest

Post by Debbie Cafazzo / The News Tribune on July 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm with No Comments »
July 10, 2012 7:35 pm

A former Gig Harbor High School principal said a weekend arrest on suspicion of drunk driving has prompted him to seek inpatient treatment for alcoholism.

Ted Strong said the drunk driving arrest – his second this year – made him realize he must deal with his disease.

“I understand I need to fix that,” he said. “I have a responsibility to my family.”

Strong, 42, was arrested after he was involved in an accident Saturday evening on Fox Island. He said he took a corner too fast and his SUV slid off the road and onto the shoulder.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to a drunk driving charge that resulted from an incident in March, where he was arrested after a hit-and-run accident on Fox Island. Pierce County District Court action stemming from that accident is still pending. He had been ordered by the judge in that case to attend a DUI victims impact panel, to abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs and to maintain law-abiding behavior.

Strong was first placed on administrative leave from his job as principal in March. He later went on medical leave and had returned to a job in the central office of the Peninsula School District on July 2. He said he had been undergoing outpatient treatment, but is now resolved to enter an inpatient rehab facility within a week.

Following his weekend arrest, Strong said he requested medical leave on Monday so that he can seek inpatient treatment.

“I’m confident I will emerge healthy,” he said, adding that he has the support of his family.

Acting Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto said Tuesday no decision has yet been made on whether the second arrest will affect Strong’s new position with the school district. He was scheduled to begin working on several projects, including a plan for how the district will implement a new teacher and principal evaluation system.

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