BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A former Holland high school teacher who admitted to selling drugs will be avoiding prison. Daniel Ellis was sentenced to five years probation Wednesday morning.
In court, Ellis told Judge Michael D’Amico that he’s already paid a high price for his mistakes. Among other things, he had to resign from his job as a special education teacher at Holland Central Junior-Senior High after he was arrested for selling methamphetamine to an undercover officer four times last year.
Ellis pleaded guilty to four felony counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, each of which could have carried a sentence of up to nine years in prison. But in court Wednesday, Ellis was instead sentenced to five years probation on each count, all running concurrently.
As his defense attorney pointed out, Ellis only sold small amounts of meth to pay for his own personal use of the drug, which he claimed to be using to self-medicate for depression. And, Ellis never sold to students or on school property.
Still, Ellis said that he is very sorry for what he did. “I never intended to hurt anybody and I know I ended up hurting a lot of people, mostly my family, my friends, my classroom and my students,” he said before learning his sentence. “The hardest thing for me to do was look at my high school special ed students and try to explain to them what I did, and obviously it was wrong, but how it happened and why. I mean, it was very difficult to do that.”
On top of the five years probation, Ellis has agreed to pay $2,400 in restitution. He will also have to have a mental health evaluation, although his attorney said he had already scheduled an appointment to begin addressing the depression issues that he says led him to use meth in the first place.