Local News

Family's detective led to student sex charges against Garner teacher

Posted April 28, 2011 9:32 a.m. EDT
Updated April 28, 2011 6:53 p.m. EDT

— A drama teacher at Garner Senior High School was arrested Wednesday on accusations that he had sex with an 18-year-old student, police said.

Joshua Andrew White, 35, of 3411 Deering Drive in Raleigh, faces two counts of sexual offense with a student by a teacher. He was being held in the Wake County jail under a $40,000 bond.

Police said that White had sex with the female student twice at Garner High during March.

The girl's parents hired a private investigator when the school took no action after they approached a guidance counselor to intervene in what they thought was an inappropriate relationship between White and their daughter.

The girl's parents even confronted White about the amount of time he was spending with her, but he denied any wrongdoing, private investigator Catherine Flowers said.

"He told them there was nothing unusual about the relationship and there was really nothing to stop," Flowers said Thursday.

She said she obtained records for White's cellphone, which showed frequent texts between him and the student. Some texts were exchanged during overnight hours, and as many as 47 texts were sent to the student's number in a single day, she said.

The family took the information Flowers collected to the school and again asked for help.

"They did act immediately," Flowers said, "but a lot of damage had been done in the meantime."

She said the school could have acted sooner, based on the information initially given to the guidance counselor.

Greg Thomas, a spokesman for the Wake County Public School System, said the counselor was told only that the student had been spending a lot of time in the drama department.

"The best information at the time is there was nothing to raise any flags regarding anything inappropriate," Thomas said.

Flowers said there were "very obvious signs" that the teacher-student relationship was out of the ordinary, and she said she hopes the case serves as a warning for other parents.

"If you see smoke, you investigate, because there is probably a fire," she said. "In this instance, there was smoke after smoke after smoke."

White resigned his position Wednesday, Thomas said. He had worked at Garner High since July 2002.

If he posts bond, he was ordered not to have any contact with the girl.