Julia Engle has been identified as the 29-year-old Dothan High School teacher in Alabama that has been arrested and charged for allegedly having sexual contact with an underage teenager student.
According to the Dothan Police Department, Engle was arrested on Friday, May 3, and officially charged with one count of a school employee engaging in a sex act with a student under the age of 19 years.
Police say that the investigation in Engle began after authorities received a tip from Dothan City Schools saying that Engle was possibly engaging in a sexual relationship with a student.
During this investigation, authorities conducted interviews with Engle and two other students. Engle was arrested and charged following the interviews.
After her arrest, Engle was taken to a nearby jail and her bail was set at $30,000.
As the investigation into Engle remains ongoing, Alabama police have asked anyone who believes they have information to call the Dothan police department at 334-615-3000.
Engle 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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