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Former Durham teacher arrested on student-related sex offenses

Posted July 7, 2014

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— A former teacher for Durham Public Schools was arrested Wednesday on accusations that she had an inappropriate relationship with a student, authorities said Monday.

Michelle Smith White, 37, of Penrith Drive, Durham, faces charges of taking indecent liberties with a student and engaging in a sex offense with a student.

Deputy Paul Sherwin, a spokesman for the Durham County Sheriff's Office, said White, who worked at Charles E. Jordan High School, started a friendship with the female student in 2012, when the girl was 15.

"Sometime between 2012 and most recently, that evolved into a sexual relationship," Sherwin said. "The exact time frame of when that happened, we are still looking into."

The alleged relationship was brought to investigators' attention by the girl's parents, Sherwin said.

"Even if the student though she was capable of consenting to that type of relationship, the law says she is not," he added, noting that it is illegal in North Carolina for teachers to engage in any type of sexual conduct with a student, regardless of the student's age.

Chrissy Pearson, a spokeswoman for Durham Public Schools, said White had worked at Jordan High School as a dance teacher from March 1997 until she resigned in April.

"The allegations against this teacher are very serious, and all of us from the school leadership to district administration will continue to do everything we can to support the Durham Sherriff’s Office in their investigation," Pearson said. "The physical and emotional safety of our students is our No. 1 priority."

White, meanwhile, was out of jail Monday on a $6,000 bond.

Sherwin said investigators searching her home found evidence that could lead to additional charges.

Meanwhile, investigators ask that anyone with information about the case to call the Durham County Sheriff's Office at 919-560-0880.

"We certainly hope there weren't any additional victims," Sherwin said. "It's possible that there were, but at this point, we are not aware of any."


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  • 678devilish Jul 8, 2014

    What is wrong with certain teachers of today? They know its wrong, but they approach these students wrongfully any way. She should be charge. The student (male/female) needs a strong talking too. Why would they want someone old enough to be a parent?

  • missymc93 Jul 8, 2014

    How does a 37 year old retire?

  • ronmarshall2012 Jul 7, 2014

    what is this world coming to

  • Guy Percy Jul 7, 2014
    user avatar

    I am an educator and I think sex with a student is DISGUSTING. What I don't get is why a female teacher would try to hook up with a male student(I know it's not in this case). I can understand young girls falling for a male teacher, but an older woman falling for a young boy doesn't make sense. Everybody knows that males mature about 2-3 years slower than girls. That is why you rarely see a 15 year old boy dating a 17 or 18 year old girl. BTW, please save any comments about this being sexist. Re-read and think about what it says.

  • tgiv Jul 7, 2014

    There was a male teacher in Winston-Salem a few years ago that also caught a $500k bail for having sex with a student. $6k seems low for whatever reason.

    A close friend of mine had sex with a teacher when he was a senior in high school back in the early '80s. They allowed the teacher to transfer, and charges were never considered against her. I think the only thing that has really changed is that female teachers get charged criminally now along with the male teachers.

  • KermitDFrog Jul 7, 2014

    View quoted thread

    A teacher in NJ gets $500k bond for the same crime.

  • HANS FOR PRESIDENT!!!!! JK Jul 7, 2014

    @death from above, tell me I'm comprehending your post incorrectly. You don't think bond is part of a punishment for an alleged crime, do you? It's to ensure her appearance in court and it's based on factors having NOTHING to do with gender

  • Confucius say Jul 7, 2014

    Dear Penhouse Letters, I never really believed the stories in your magazine, until the following happened to me.....

  • sendusmessage Jul 7, 2014

    What's with all these female teachers and high school kids? Seems that sexual crimes by females is way more prevalent in schools, not sure why?

  • Hecate Jul 7, 2014

    I am someone who believes fully in punishment fitting the crime, but am always careful to rush to judgment when a teacher is accused of sexual misconduct. I am certainly agreeing that it happens, but as we all know, students these days are very savvy and many are emotionally unstable and have an ax to grind, as do some parents. They see these stories on the news, and immediately create drama to get the teacher fired, but more so , ruin the teacher's career. Don't think it doesn't happen, and the school board won't back the teacher, because once the story is out, the teacher is a pariah.