Student’s parents arrested after school squabble

Vanessa Alston

Nathaniel M. Hampton

DOVER — Confusion about their son’s whereabouts due to an out of state field trip erupted into criminal offenses for two parents at William Henry Middle School Tuesday afternoon, authorities alleged.

According to Dover Police, Nathaniel M. Hampton, 26, and Vanessa Alston, 33, arrived at the school at approximately 3:06 p.m. “wanting to know where their son was.”

Spokesman Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman said, “Both suspects were shouting profanities and alleging their son had not returned home from school.”

Though the school at 65 Carver Road had let out for the day, students and staff were present for activities when the couple arrived, police said.
Ms. Alston allegedly made a general threat to kill “towards staff who were dealing with her,” police said.

Police officers arrived approximately five to seven minutes after Ms. Alston called from the school to report her son missing, authorities said.

Arriving officers “noticed that both suspects smelled of marijuana and appeared to be intoxicated,” Cpl. Hoffman said in a news release.

“Officers arrived and the suspects continued to be uncooperative, shouting profanities inside the building where staff and students were still present.”

The couple was subdued, police said, and school officials confirmed their child was still on a field trip and was never considered missing by staff, Officials said the parents “previously gave permission for him to attend, knowing the class would return after normal school hours.”

The child was picked up by his grandmother upon returning to the school, police said.

A school resource officer assigned to William Henry was not present when Ms. Alston and Mr. Hampton arrived, but responded once the incident began, police said.

In an arrest affidavit, authorities said a handcuffed Mr. Hampton was placed inside a fully marked patrol vehicle with a cage and then transported to a cell block at the Dover Police Department. A patrolman returned to his vehicle and allegedly “located a clear ziploc style bag that had approximately 4.1 grams of a substance that tested positive for marijuana, in the rear cage seat that (Mr. Hampton) had been seated.”

Nobody else had been in the vehicle until Mr. Hampton was placed in the seat, police said in documents, and there was no odor or marijuana until he arrived.

Police believed Mr. Hampton to “have been intoxicated on marijuana based off the erratic behavior … his inability to communicate within reason to convey information regarding his child, the reported odor of marijuana from his person, his possession of marijuana, and he could not recall that his child was on a field trip which he would have provided permission for.”

Charges against the parents included disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and public intoxication. Mr. Hampton was also charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, Ms. Alston with terroristic threatening.

Not guilty pleas were listed in court documents.

The parents were presented at Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover and released on unsecured bond. A May 9 arraignment was scheduled in the case.
Police said the school requested a no contact order with the parents following the alleged incident.

Cpl. Hoffman described the resisting arrest as the parents refusing “to comply, pulling away from officers when attempting to take them into custody.”

Police did not indicate whether the couple was married. In court documents, Mr. Hampton’s address was listed on Lambert Drive in Magnolia.

An attempt to reach William Henry Middle administration for comment Wednesday was not immediately successful.

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