Souhegan High music teacher accused of inappropriate contact with former student surrenders credentials

Mar. 21—A Souhegan High School music teacher placed on paid administrative leave earlier this year while state education officials investigated allegations of inappropriate contact with a former student has surrendered his teaching credentials with the New Hampshire Department of Education.

Carl Benevides was the subject of an investigation by the New Hampshire Department of Education (DOE) earlier this year for alleged inappropriate contact with a former student, SAU 39 officials said in a statement. The alleged misconduct didn't involve any current students, officials confirmed.

Late last week, the DOE confirmed it had closed its investigation, and updated its list of revoked/suspended educator credentials to include Benevides, who officials said voluntarily surrendered his experienced educator credential with music education endorsement.

As a result, Benevides is unable to teach at a public school in the Granite State.

This voluntary surrender/revocation was precipitated by allegations of inappropriate professional boundaries with a student dating back to the year 2000," the DOE said in a statement. The allegations did not involve a current student and did not involve any allegation of criminal conduct, officials added.

"Because this investigation was initiated by the NHDOE, SAU 39 has no further information to share and will await the result of their investigation," Superintendent Adam Steel said in a statement earlier this year.

"While the alleged misconduct does not involve a current student and no determination has been made by the NHDOE about these allegations, SAU 39 recognizes the severity of these allegations and does not tolerate nor condone inappropriate behavior towards students," it read.

In February, Benevides posted a message in a closed Amherst community Facebook group responding to the allegations against him.

In the social media post, Benevides wrote that he was told in November 2021, a month before returning to work after being out on leave for months, that allegations were made against him while teaching in Londonderry.

"At that point, Superintendent Steel filed a case with the Department of Education as mandatory reporter," wrote Benevides. "After giving my permission to open my Londonderry employee file, nothing negative was found. In my 28 years of teaching, I have never been accused of any inappropriate conduct by anyone."

Benevides wrote when he left Londonderry to take a position at Souhegan High, he did so with "glowing letters of recommendation" and still maintains positive relationships with Londonderry music staff and all former students.

"I would not have been hired by SAU 39 if there were any allegations against me," wrote Benevides. "My family and I are sickened by this and cannot believe how this can be publicized like this before any due process."