A former Gig Harbor High School principal said a weekend arrest has prompted him to seek inpatient treatment for alcoholism.
Ted Strong said the drunken driving arrest – his second this year – made him realize he must deal with his disease.
“I understand I need to fix that,” he told The News Tribune on Tuesday. “I have a responsibility to my family.”
Strong, 42, worked as principal at Gig Harbor High for nearly three years until he was placed on leave last spring and had recently started a new administrative job with the Peninsula School District.
He 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 drunken-driving charge in March after 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 paid administrative leave from his principal job in March. He later went on medical leave and had returned to a job in the central office July 2. He said he’d been undergoing outpatient treatment but is now resolved to enter an inpatient rehab facility within a week.
Following Saturday’s arrest, Strong said he requested medical leave 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 that no decision has been made on whether the second arrest will affect Strong’s new position with the school district. Strong was scheduled to begin working on several projects, including a plan for how the district will implement a new teacher and principal evaluation firstname.lastname@example.org