SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- A Scott County Prosecutor filed 21 charges against Austin Elementary School teacher Laura Nowling, who allegedly brought meth into her classroom.

“Officers with the Indiana State Police and the Scott County Sherriff’s Department had reason to believe that she might have methamphetamine in her purse and at school. They followed up on that investigation and they did find her to be in possession of meth on school properties,” said Scott County prosecutor Jason Mount.

We're told the purse was left unattended in her classroom, which was filled with 14 second-grade students.

She's charged with possession of methamphetamine on school property and 14 counts of neglect of a dependent.

She's also charged with possession of illegal substances in her home, where the investigation started.

“She was residing with Harold Matthew Kemp, an individual who is on home detention. They conducted a follow-up investigation at his home, which did lead them to Ms. Nowling at the school,” Mount explained.

Nowling's ex-husband, who's also the father of her three kids, says despite the charges, he believes she's still a good teacher.

“As many years as she's been up there at Austin, she's did a great a great job at Austin Elementary School and a lot of kids loved her. I mean they really did,” said Bart Draper.

He said as far as he knew, his ex-wife never had a drug problem.

“She just did it every now and then,” Draper said. “It's sad to say, but anytime you find a teacher with meth on them shouldn't, I mean. That's a horrible thing to have.”

In a written statement to WDRB, Scott County's District 1 Superintendent says, in part:

"We hope a message has been sent to the community that we will not tolerate this type of act in our school system. She has been placed on Administrative Leave pending completion of the investigation."

“When you send you kids to school you should have an expectation that it's a drug free environment,” said Mount. “When you have teachers bringing drugs into an elementary school, that's something that certainly we need to take very seriously.”

Nowling's trial date is set for July 19.

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