Jessica Gaeckle, a 30-year-old teacher in Pleasantville, New Jersey, was arrested on Friday, January 18, for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a teenage student.
According to The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, Gaeckle — from Galloway Township, New Jersey — engaged in sexual acts with an unidentified 18-year-old student.
Additionally, Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said that Gaeckle told the victim to destroy evidence after learning about the investigation.
While New Jersey’s age of consent is 16, the age becomes 18 when it involves an adult with supervisory authority, such as a teacher.
Gaeckle was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree official misconduct and a count of third-degree hindering apprehension. She is the second Pleasantville High School employee to be arrested within the last year.
As for why there has been such a significant increase in instances of teachers having inappropriate 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.
That is all the information available at this time. This article will be updated with new and relevant information should it become available.