UNION, SC (WSPA) – The student’s phone that may have been used to distribute nude photos of a Unions Co. teacher is being looked at by SLED, according to Union Police Chief Sam White. He says they are trying to find out if the pictures were ever on the phone. They hope to have the investigation finished in a couple of weeks, according to White.
Leigh Anne Arthur resigned after a student stole personal pictures off her cell phone. She says one of her students took the pictures while she was out of the classroom and distributed it to other students. Arthur has been a teacher in Union county for over 13 years, but that came to an end two weeks ago.
“He opened up my gallery for my pictures and he found inappropriate pictures of myself and he took pictures with his cell phone of that and then he told the whole class that he would send them to whoever wanted them,” says Arthur.
Arthur says the student warned her that something bad was coming. “The student who actually took my phone and took pictures turned around and told me your day of reckoning is coming,” says Arthur.
Since the incident, Arthur says 4 of photos taken from her phone by a student were printed out and put in her mailbox. She says there was a threatening message to her and her boys on the back of one of them. Arthur says her husband checked their mailbox and found blown up 5×7 photos. The sheriff’s office is investigating and lifting fingerprints.
Superintendent David Eubanks says the school has concern that Arthur could be contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Arthur said this wasn’t her fault and that she did not knowingly leave her cell phone sitting on her desk knowing that those pictures were on there. She says even though her privacy was invaded by the student, the school district still wanted her to resign from her teaching position, which she did the following week.
“The whole premise of my privacy being invaded his being ignored and that’s what’s wrong,” said Arthur.
She says according to school district policy, the student should have been expelled, but to her knowledge, has not happened yet. Arthur was not properly supervising her students and she routinely allowed them to use her cell phone with her full permission, according to a statement from Superintendent Dr. David Eubanks.
Eubanks says Arthur was not where she should have been at the time the incident occurred.
The statement also goes on to say that Arthur’s comments that the student is not being punished are incorrect and that the student’s punishment will be determined by law enforcement findings.
Read his full statement below:
One of the most critical responsibilities that a classroom teacher has is the supervision of students. In this particular case there was a breakdown in the classroom in that most critical area. Evidence and statements indicate that the teacher was not where she should have been at the time the incident occurred. As a result, a student accessed inappropriate material on her phone, sent it to others, and as a result also may also be severely punished by law enforcement as well as the school district. This is a case where a staff member, properly supervising students, could have prevented a very serious problem. Contrary to statements attributed to Ms. Arthur concerning the phone, evidence indicates that students routinely used the teacher’s cell phone with full her permission. The teacher involved has widely reported that the student is not being punished. That is incorrect along with many other statements made by her. The extent of the punishment of the student will be determined by the findings of law enforcement. One error, along with many false statements, by a teacher, has and will affect the lives of many.
Arthur has a message for the student who did this: “I forgive you. It don’t make it any more right. But what’s done is done and I hope you learned your lesson. And I hope that you learned from this mistake and I hope that you have a wife one day that you treat like gold and you won’t want this to ever happen to her.”
Arthur says parents and students are signing a petition to have her teach again, and the amount of support has been overwhelming. Arthur says she plans on pressing charges against the student next week.