Mililani teacher pleads not guilty in drug case
A Mililani Middle School teacher pleaded not guilty yesterday in Wahiawa District Court to third-degree promotion of dangerous drugs, a petty misdemeanor.
Defense attorney David Gierlach entered the plea on behalf of Benjamin Ayson, whose presence was waived, and requested a trial date.
Ayson, a language arts and physical education teacher, was one of two teachers arrested Dec. 4 after a parent observed the two smoking in Ayson's pickup truck at the Mililani Park and Ride, about a mile from the school. The parent followed them as they drove to school and reported the incident to school officials.
Gierlach declined to comment, saying he had not yet received the police reports.
He had said earlier that Ayson and fellow teacher Lisa Luhrsen were smoking a cigarette, not marijuana, before heading to work.
Police said they allegedly found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in Ayson's truck and on both teachers.
Both remain free after posting $50 bail. Both were placed on paid administrative leave while the school investigates.
On Dec. 19, Luhrsen, a math teacher, also pleaded not guilty to the same charge and was allowed to leave the state for a trip that had been planned earlier, her attorney Victor Bakke said.
Per Diem District Court Judge Clyde Sumida set their trial for the week of March 8.