EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSMingo Teacher Accused Of Inappropriate Relationship With 13-Year-Old Student
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Katy Brown
Web Producer: Jeff Morris
Also Contributing: Jeff Morris
Reported: Dec. 12, 2013 1:33 PM EST
Updated: Dec. 12, 2013 11:32 PM EST
Matewan, Mingo County , West Virginia
A math teacher in Matewan is accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of her female students, and this isn't the first time she's been under investigation.
State Police said Mingo County teacher Jennifer Parsons, 32, was having a relationship with one of her teenage students.
“We've spoke with several witnesses, being classmates and other individuals including the victim, in reference to alleged allegations that an inappropriate relationship was taking place between an eighth grade math teacher and a eighth grade 13-year-old female student," Trooper C.A. Douglas, with West Virginia State Police, said.
Troopers said the two exchanged "love notes" at school, and touching was involved.
In an effort to hide their relationship, troopers said the pair burned the love letters and tried to be discrete when touching one another, on and off school property.
Parsons has been suspended.
The school board released a statement reading, “Of course, we take notice of any allegations or concerns expressed about our employees. We have procedures to process those concerns while protecting the right of all concerned, including the employees.”
The concerns leave many, including police, wondering why someone a student is supposed to trust would do this.
"I don't know it's hard for me to fathom ,” Douglas said. “I guess just because a student looks at a teacher as someone they can trust and believes they're going to lead them in the right direction."
Troopers said, while troubling, this is only once instance, and they hope it doesn't tarnish the education of the children.
"I know it's hard after this situation but you just have to keep faith in the school system and the teachers, you know, because the majority of the teachers aren't like this," Douglas said.
Parsons is being held at the Southern Regional Jail on a one hundred and $50,000 bond.
Police said they are continuing their investigation and, while none have been filed just yet, charges may be filed against Parsons’ husband John, depending on the investigation.
State Police said a mathematics teacher in Mingo County has been arrested after she was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old female student.
Jennifer L. Parsons was charged Wednesday with sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in a position of trust of a child, according to a criminal complaint filed in Mingo County Magistrate Court.
Theresa Hanshaw, principal of Matewan K-8, filed a complaint Dec. 6 with State Police, alleging that Parsons was having an inappropriate relationship with the student.
State Police said the principal reported that a previous investigation had taken place over allegations about the teacher and the student. During an investigation by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, the initial complaint alleged that Parsons and the student were writing love notes to each other in class, called each other “babe,” and that they had been observed touching one another with their hands on various body parts. The principal said Parsons, the girl’s soccer coach, was cleared in the previous investigation, but the teacher was suspended after more complaints surfaced.
The criminal complaint said troopers were told multiple students reported seeing the teacher and student pass notes in class and one student saw them kissing inside the teacher’s classroom. A soccer teammate of the girl told State Police the student and teacher sat together during bus rides to away soccer games and had been observed with their hands on each other’s thighs.
State Police said further investigation revealed additional evidence the student and teacher had engaged in more inappropriate touching, including kissing and groping. The complaint said the student and teacher would burn the notes they had written to each other.
Parsons was lodged in Southwestern Regional Jail with bond set at $150,000.
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