WSPAA South Carolina high school teacher resigned from her job last week, after being told she would face disciplinary proceedings because a student grabbed racy pictures off her phone.
Now local news outlets are reporting that the 16-year-old boy who distributed her pictures will face felony charges.
The teen has been charged with violating the state’s Computer Crimes Act and “aggravated voyeurism,” Union Police Chief Sam White told TV station WSPA.
The student’s phone contained other sexual pictures as well, White added.
Last month, the student opened Arthur’s unlocked phone, found partially-nude pictures of her, and then took photos of the teacher’s pictures with his own phone. He then distributed them to other students.
Arthur said she took the pictures as a Valentine’s Day present for her husband.
The school district’s superintendent, David Eubanks, has stood by his position that discipline for Arthur was appropriate.
“One of the most critical responsibilities that a classroom teacher has is the supervision of students,” Eubanks said in a statement published by WSPA. “Evidence and statements indicate that the teacher was not where she should have been at the time the incident occurred…. evidence indicates that students routinely used the teacher’s cell phone with [her full] permission.”
Arthur told the TV station she allowed a student to use her phone one time.
The student was her nephew and had both Arthur’s and her mother’s permission to use the phone.
She was in the hallway in between class periods because the school required her to be there, greeting students, she said.
Students at Union High School have created a petition entitled “Bring Back Mrs.
Arthur,” which has more than 12,000 signatures following national news coverage of the teacher’s plight. However, the popular mechatronics teacher has said she’s not sure she wants to go back.
Arthur has said she forgives the student, but she’s also glad he’s being charged. She told WSPA she’s “relieved and proud they are holding him accountable and responsible for his actions. When you’re 16 just being sorry for something of this severity is not enough anymore.”
Following the incident, Arthur said four of the photos taken from her phone were printed out and put in her mailbox, with a threatening message on the back of one of them.
The sheriff’s office is investigating that as well.
Arthur has not only shown tremendous dedication to her students, but also the mechatronics program itself, often reaching out to local businesses and colleges to get materials that would not normally be available for the class,” wrote the students who created the online petition.
The petitioners also expressed sympathy for their offending classmate, who now faces felony charges.
“He has expressed nothing but sincere remorse for his actions, we ask that you do not show hatred towards him, he realizes that what he did was wrong,” the petitioners wrote. “We are not defending his actions by any means, but some of the things that have been said are utterly hateful, we must keep in mind that this is a fellow classmate who still has a life to live and will remember this for the remainder of his life.”