Dayna Chidester, a 50-year-old teacher at Reed-Custer High School in Illinois, has been arrested and charged for allegedly having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 14-year-old teenage boy.
Chidester, who is from Manhattan, Illinois, was arrested on Thursday, January 3, and charged with felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, indecent solicitation of a child and unlawful grooming.
According to authorities, the investigation was launched just a couple days before Chidester’s after police received a tip.
While investigating, police found that Chidester began communicating with the teen through text in September 2018. After the two began texting, the relationship soon evolved into the two sexting before they eventually began having sex.
Additionally, police said that the 14-year-old victim was not a student at the school where Chidester taught.
Following her arrest, Chidester was taken to Will County Jail where her bail was set at $1 million.
via ABC 7 Chicago:
Reed-Custer Community School District released a statement saying, in part, “An investigation is ongoing. In addition to accepting Mrs. Chidester’s resignation, she will not be allowed on school property and will be barred from having any contact with Reed-Custer students.”
In November 2018, parents filed a lawsuit against the school claiming their son was hazed and bullied, and that school officials did nothing. In December a band teacher was released after authorities said he possessed child porn.
Chidester’s husband was in court but left without making any comment. Authorities said child pornography charges could be filed in the future related to the images sent by text. Chidester is due back in court on January 29.
As for why there has been such a significant increase in instances of teachers having sexual relationships with students, researchers believe that technology is to blame.
According to a report from the Texas Education Association, smartphones make easy for teachers to privately text and talk with students and also make it possible for teachers and students to share explicit images.
SESAME (Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct & Exploitation) President Terri Miller echoed that sentiment, stating “before cell phones, we knew who our kids were talking to” but today, “kids have their own phones, they’re taking them to bed, and parents need to watch more.”
Hoffman has been one of many teachers to be charged for inappropriate conduct. Over the course of just a few months, teachers across the United States have been charged, tried, and convicted of various abuse and sex crimes.
The list goes on to include 22-year-old Oklahoma science teacher Hunter Day, 28-year-old teacher Megan Kotarski, 23-year-old history teacher Michelle Schiffer, 29-year-old Alyssia Marie Reddy, special education teacher Jordan Ondish and 28-year-old Samantha Fitzpatrick have all been allegedly carrying on inappropriate relationships with their students.