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Principal Charged with Drug Possession

By Associated Press

Buffalo, NY – An elementary school principal was charged Thursday with possessing methamphetamine and Ecstasy tablets.

Frank Cannata, 40, of Buffalo was immediately suspended from his job at the Grand Island Central Schools' Charlotte Sidway Elementary School, where he had been principal since 1998.

Investigators, carrying out a federal search warrant, seized five grams of crystal methamphetamine and 14 Ecstasy pills at Cannata's Buffalo home, according to a criminal complaint.

Cannata's arrest shocked his colleagues, said assistant superintendent Karen Karmazin. He is also musical director of the Niagara Regional Theatre Guild.

"He probably knows every student by name," Karmazin said. "He's a professional musician so he sings with the students. He's really beloved by all the students, faculty and parents."

Cannata had informed the school Thursday that he would not be in and was arrested at his home, Karmazin said.

The district sent letters to students' families informing them of the arrest and suspension and promising to cooperate with authorities.

Counselors would be available Friday, Karmazin said, to assist students or faculty members shaken by the arrest.

A message left on an answering machine at Cannata's home was not immediately returned.