Anitra Lahiri, a 44-year-old former teacher in Vermont, has been charged with sexual exploitation of a minor and disseminating indecent material to a minor.
According to reports, Lahiri — who used to be a teacher at the Lyndon Institute in Lyndon, Vermont — is accused of allegedly having sex with a 17-year-old student “at least twice” in the spring of 2018.
When speaking to authorities, the unidentified victim said that he initially began communicating with Lahiri — who he had in study hall — through social media.
Lahiri has since denied the charges against her and pleaded not guilty.
Lyndon Institute school officials have confirmed that Lahiri was fired before Thanksgiving of 2018 and has not had any contact with the school’s students since November.
Twiladawn Perry, the head of Lyndon Institute, released the following statement regarding Lahiri’s arrest:
“At Lyndon Institute, the safety and well-being of our students are our top priorities, and we take all necessary steps to ensure that these priorities are safeguarded. Our policies and procedures require that professional boundaries be maintained at all times between any adult in our community, and our students, and all school staff are trained concerning these limits, as well as about their obligations as mandated reporters.
Our students are repeatedly taught that if they see something, they should say something. When the School learns of matters of concern from any source, we act quickly by both investigating and involving state and local authorities, as required and as appropriate to the situation.”
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.