In the latest case of teachers gone wild, Dayna Chidester, a 51-year-old high school teacher in Illinois, was recently busted by FBI for an alleged sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy. Chidester was picked up by agents on Wednesday, September 26, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Chidester previously taught consumer and family science teacher at Reed-Custer High School. She reportedly left her job while being investigated for her improper relationship with the student.
Initial charges came in January and further investigation into the student’s cell phone showed more than 9,000 text messages over the course of a few months beginning in September and nude photos of the teacher. The encounters between the two — which the boy claims happened between 15 to 20 times — reportedly occurred from September through late December 2018.
The incident came to light when a school administrator reportedly revealed Chidester “had a romantic relationship with Chidester’s child, who attended the same high school as Victim A.”
If convicted, Chidester faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison if convicted of sexual abuse of a minor.
Since the beginning of 2019 alone, a handful of teachers have been arrested on similar charges, including 25-year-old substitute teacher Alexis Mercedes Boberg in Baltimore, 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.