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News / Northwest

Former Kennewick teacher and mother of 6 arrested on child rape and drug charges

By Eric Rosane and Rachel Showalter, Eric Rosane and Rachel Showalter, Tri-City Herald
Published: June 6, 2023, 7:36am

KENNEWICK — A former Kennewick teacher and mother of 6 is facing charges of child rape, child sexual assault and drug possession after being arrested in Whatcom County.

Tana Perkins Reneau, 51, of Blaine, was arrested by Whatcom County Sheriff deputies after detectives for the department investigated a Child Protective Services report containing alleged instances of abuse, the Bellingham Herald reported Monday.

She also allegedly had a vial of prescription pills for a prescription that was not hers, giving police probable cause to arrest her on controlled substance charges.

It’s not immediately clear how Reneau and the children were connected, but a spokesperson for the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office confirmed they were known to her. It’s also unclear when and where the crimes allegedly happened.

On Monday, her bail was set at $500,000 at a preliminary court hearing. She remains in the Whatcom County Jail.

Reneau has six children, four of whom are adopted. She taught in Kennewick for 13 years before moving to Blaine in 2011.

The Kennewick native earned a master’s degree in teaching from Washington State University.

She was hired in 1998 by the Kennewick School District and taught 5th grade at Southgate Elementary and then at Eastgate Elementary, according to a district spokesperson.

It’s unclear if she ever taught in Blaine schools, but she served on multiple curriculum and technology adoption committees.

She’s also been involved with North Whatcom County Young Life ministry and as a leader in a program called YoungLives, which aims to offer guidance, resources and support to teen mothers.

In 2021, Reneau opened a candy company called Better Buttermint Co., where she employs young adults with developmental disabilities.

At least one of her children lives with an expressive language disorder that affects his motor and verbal skills. Reneau told the Northern Light newspaper that her child’s skills noticeably improved while working for company.

Reneau has filed to run for an open seat on the Blaine School Board and will face two other candidates in the August primary.

She previously ran unsuccessfully for the school board in 2019.