Janai Mercedes Smothers a former Metro Nashville teacher is indicted over a lesbian sex relationship with minor teen student she had prior to resigning and finding another teaching post (interstate).
Upon her arrest the former Nashville teacher was charged with one count of sexual battery with the woman set to return to Tennessee later this week.
The teacher’s indictment came following a recommendation by Metro Nashville Police Sex Crimes Unit having conducted an investigation into the alleged physical relationship.
A report via WKRN tells of the sexual misconduct charges stemming from a $3 million federal lawsuit initiated by the parents of a 14-year-old girl who claims the former Maplewood High School teacher engaged in a year-long inappropriate relationship from 2015 to 2016.
In their suit, the family alleges that the Metro Nashville Public School District failed to protect their daughter after failing to follow federal sexual violence guidelines under Title IX rules, according to The Tennesseean.
Responding to Smother’s arrest, Fresno School District, Jessica Baird, issued a statement in which she said, ‘I can just tell you that one of our teachers was taken into custody yesterday at McLane High School. That teacher is now on paid administrative leave’.
Of note, Baird told of Smothers passing a background check before being hired by the district on August 9.
Smothers had originally resigned from her teaching position in Nashville on April 21, 2016.
According to USA Today, the United States faces a nationwide problem of teachers with misconduct records moving to other states and continuing their careers.
Maplewood High School principal claims minor victim was not innocent:
The parents also alleged in their lawsuit that the principal of Maplewood High School, whose name has not been released, told them during a conference that the minor ‘was not innocent’ and wanted the situation to be ‘swept under the rug.’
Can a minor ever be guilty?
Told the victim’s family attorney, Stephen Crofford, ‘On behalf of our clients, we’re happy this arrest and indictment took place. It’s a long time coming but I’m glad it finally happened,’ the attorney for the teenager’s family.’
Under Title IX guidelines, teachers are required to immediately notify the Department of Children’s Services or law enforcement of any sexual or physical abuse on school property.
The statute also compels public schools to take immediate action against an accused pupil and determine whether they should be reprimanded or expelled, or whether a student requires special accommodations, such as switching classes or a sabbatical.