Principal Placed on Leave After Child Endangerment Arrest

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dallas Police
    Carla Westbrook Spaniel

    A Fort Worth middle school principal has been placed on administrative leave with pay after being arrested over the weekend on child endangerment charges.

    Carla Westbrook-Spaniel, 44, of Arlington, allegedly left her children, ages 3 and 4, unattended at the Dallas Adolphus Hotel while she tried to get into a downtown Dallas club, according to police.

    FW Principal Accused of Leaving Her Kids in Hotel Room

    [DFW] FW Principal Accused of Leaving Her Kids in Hotel Room
    A Fort Worth middle school principal has been placed on administrative leave with pay after being arrested over the weekend on child endangerment charges. (Published Monday, May 10, 2010)

    Westbrook-Spaniel tried to get into the Mantus Lounge in the 1500 block of Main Street, but instead got into a confrontation when the bouncer told her she wasn't dressed appropriately. According to police, Westbrook-Spaniel tried to push her way past the bouncer by shoving him.

    Dallas police were called and another confrontation took place, officers said. Police said Westbrook-Spaniel fought with officers and scratched herself on her face during the struggle.

    Police said the officers then learned the woman's children had been left alone in the hotel room. Officers went to check on them and found them sleeping, but hungry.

    Westbrook-Spaniel was arrested on two counts of abandoning a child with the intent to return and one count of public intoxication. Bail has been set at $30,000.

    In a prepared statement, Barbara Griffith, a Fort Worth Independent School District spokeswoman, said, "Dr. Spaniel has a long history of excellence as a leader and educator. We've not yet had the opportunity to speak with her about the situation. We'll be seeking facts and details and will take appropriate action based on the facts."

    Westbrook-Spaniel has been the principal at J.P. Elder Middle School since 2006.

    Her husband, U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Keith Spaniel, is deployed in Iraq. Spaniel, who is serving his third tour in Iraq, is headed home on emergency leave, said his commander, Lt. Col. Kelly Broome of the 490th Civil Affairs Battalion. The unit is based in Grand Prairie.

    Broome said the couple's children are staying with relatives.

    Spaniel deployed in August and was due back in the fall, Broome said.

    "He is concerned about his wife. He's relieved that his children are with his family," Broome said. "He's dedicated to his mission, but we need him to get back here so he can take care of his family."

    NBC DFW's Lindsay Wilcox contributed to this report.