Raquel Eleana Spencer, a former English teacher at Northwest Whitfield high school in Georgia, has been sentenced to “at least 90 days” in prison after being convicted on sexual assault charges.
According to a report from the Dalton Daily Citizen, Spencer was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday, March 8, after pleading guilty to sexual assault by a person with supervisory and disciplinary authority.
The Whitfield County sheriff’s office said that they believe Spencer — who was also an assistant cheerleading and girl’s track coach at Northwest Whitfield high school — was involved in a relationship with the unidentified victim for “more than a year.”
While Spencer was sentenced to 10 years, she must serve 90 to 120 days in a probation detention center, which is “a highly-structured, minimum security facility that provides counseling, life skills classes and substance abuse counseling”, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen.
The remainder of her 10-year sentence will be spent on probation. Additionally, Spencer must pay a $1,000 fine and perform 300 hours of community service.
Spencer is just the latest in a string of education officials to be arrested and charged for sex-related crimes.
Since the beginning of 2019 alone, a handful of teachers have been arrested on similar charges, including Beulah High School teacher Kelsie Schmidt in North Dakota, Rancocas Valley Regional High School teacher Alexandra Reiner in New Jersey, and 50-year-old Florida substitute teacher Angela Jean Stanton in Florida. Additionally, Texas teacher Meredith Null was arrested on similar charges.
As for why there has been an increase in teacher’s being charged with sex-related crimes over recent years, studies suggest that smartphones are the primary reason for the spike in illicit relationships, as it allows teachers to communicate with the minors without supervision.
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.
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