Performing Arts School Teacher Arrested for Inappropriate Contact with Students

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The owner of a private performing arts studio in the Whiting section has been charged with endangering the welfare of children, after police said he gave the youths alcohol and took photos and videos of them in various states of undress.

Michael W. Grande, 43, of Manchester, runs the Westminster School for Performing Arts, where he also is a teacher. Additionally, he is the artistic and education director for the Westminster Theatre Company. Both the studio and theatre company are in Whiting, said Capt. Todd Malland, a police spokesman.

“On several occasions, Mr. Grande provided alcoholic beverages to the victims, who were between the ages of 16 and 20, and also took photos and videos of them in various stages of undress,” Malland said in the prepared statement.

In addition to the charge of endangering the welfare of children, Grande was also charged with promoting obscene material to a person under 18 and providing alcoholic beverages to underage persons, he said.

He was released on summonses in accordance with New Jersey bail reform.

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