Authorities arrested an Alabama teacher March 30 for reportedly having sex with a student only days after his wife was charged for the same crime.
Pickens Academy teachers James "Jamie" Franklin Parker, 32, and his wife, 30-year-old Charli Jones Parker, were arrested for allegedly having sex with a female and male minor, respectively, both under the age of 19, AL.com reports.
"The incidents involving the husband and wife are separate and unrelated in place and manner of commission," Pickens County District Attorney Chris McCool said.
The two now face a possible sentence of 20-years in prison.
James taught math, while both were were coaches for the school’s sports teams.
Pickens Academy’s Headmaster Brach White expressed his shock over the allegations in a statement.
"The safety and wellbeing of our students is and always will be our top priority. We are obviously shocked and dismayed by this allegation and will be working to support all of our students and families in coping with this news,” White said. “The employee will be suspended immediately and further action may be taken upon investigation. Unfortunately, these events have been a distraction from the many great things that take place at Pickens Academy.”
Yet according to experts, this case is simply a reflection of a larger problem in Alabama, Yellow Hammer News reports.
“We can’t pretend this isn’t a problem anymore. In some ways when you look at the rate of these cases per population, Alabama is the epicenter of that problem,” Terry Abbott, the former Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Education, said. “Too many districts in Alabama and elsewhere have no policy prohibiting secret electronic communication between teachers and students. That’s a highway to hell.”
“Very often the teachers involved in these cases pick on students who they know have problems at home or who have physiological issues that they are dealing with. They know these children are, frankly, easy prey,” Abbott added.
He also explained that coaches tend to prey on these students more than other instructors.
“If I was advising a school district on how to stop this problem, the first thing I would tell them is to go see your coaches because that’s where the biggest group of these cases come from. Coaches are the probably the folks who spend the most time with kids outside of the classroom,” he said.