Former N. Valley teacher sentenced to probation

FRESNO, Calif.

Investigators accused Japhia Huhndorf of having explosives in her classroom and helping students get high on chloroform.

Huhndorf has been out on bail with an ankle monitor since September, so today she walked the same hallways as the former students she was accused of harming.

But those students had only kind words for their teacher, and even blamed themselves for her arrest.

Huhndorf showed little emotion when she walked into court Friday, but she cried as three of her former students spoke about the positive impact she had on their lives.

"She was a great teacher, and I'm just thankful for all that I learned from her," one said.

"Ms. Huhndorf revitalized my love for science. She revitalized my love for humanity," another said.

Two of the boys' mothers also became emotional as they spoke to Huhndorf.

"Through this experience, I think my son has learned sometimes good people use bad judgement," one parent said.

"I just simply don't understand what she was thinking when she let this happen in her classroom. You just don't understand how much pain you've caused my family," another parent said.

Police arrested the former Livingston high school science teacher in may after they say she helped the three students get high on chloroform. They arrested her again days later after finding a vial of explosive nitroglycerin in her classroom. A bomb squad detonated it after evacuating the campus.

Hundorf's defense attorney says she never meant to hurt anyone.

"Unfortunately it was an educational experience that went awry. She's a fine person, and there are 3 young men who are wonderful, and their lives are enhanced by the contact they had with her," defense attorney Paul Fromson.

The judge described Huhndorf's actions as lapses of judgement that broke the law. He accepted her plea of no contest to one child abuse charge in exchange for having five other felony counts dropped.

"We feel this is a fair result. It protects the kids. There are some consequences for the defendant. She will be on 4 years probation, she loses her teaching credential, so the school feels safe as well," deputy district attorney Monika Saini said.

Huhndorf did lose her teaching credential Friday, but she can apply for a new one in the future.

It will be up to the state's governing agency to approve or deny it.

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