Former Durham teacher arrested on student-related sex offenses
Posted July 7, 2014
Durham, N.C. — 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."