Deidre Smith, a 34-year-old teacher at Lake Charles Charter Academy in Lake Charles, Louisiana, has been arrested and charged for allegedly raping a 10-year-old student.
According to reports, Smith — who has since been released on $50,000 bond — allegedly had inappropriate sexual contact with one of her 10-year-old students. Due to the child’s age, their identity will not be released.
Following her arrest, Smith was charged with first-degree rape and felony indecent behavior with a juvenile and was taken to the Calcasieu Correctional Center.
During the course of their investigation, which began on Tuesday, April 30, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office learned that not only did Smith have “inappropriate contact” with the unidentified child since the end of 2018, but she allegedly had sexual intercourse with the victim at some point
Gene Thibodeaux, the Lake Charles Charter Academy President, said that school takes “any allegations of staff misconduct very seriously.”
“The allegation is being investigated. The allegation has not been verified to be true. If verified that teacher will be subject to termination. The safety and security of our students and staff are our top priority,” Thibodeaux’s statement read in part.
Smith is just one of many education officials to be arrested and charged for inappropriate contact with an underage student in recent years.
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 teachers Meredith Null and Edna Longoria were arrested on similar charges.
As for why the number of these incidents has seemingly increased, 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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