Janet Mercedes Smothers, a 25-year-old former Tennessee high school teacher, has been arrested in California for alleged sexual misconduct with a former student.
Smothers, 25, was working in Fresno, California when she was charged with one count of sexual battery by an authority figure for an alleged incident that occurred in Nashville. She is currently awaiting extradition.
Smothers’ arrest was made after a $3 million lawsuit filed by the family of an unidentified teen who claimed that a female teacher at Maplewood High School, identified as Smothers, acted inappropriately during the 2015-2016 school year. The girl was 14-years-old at the time.
via The Tennessean:
Metro Nashville Public Schools failed to appropriately respond or follow federal sexual violence reporting rules known as Title IX, the family alleges in its lawsuit. The allegations come as Metro also faces scrutiny over accusations that educators did not report known or suspected cases of abuse.
“MNPS cares deeply about the students in our district and has policies and procedures that support our requirements as mandatory reporters to report suspected child abuse or neglect,” said Public Information Officer Michelle Michaud, adding the district does not comment on the specifics of a case in which there is pending litigation.
Jessica Baird, a spokeswoman for the Fresno Unified School District, confirmed that a teacher was taken into custody Monday.
“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,” Baird said in a telephone interview.
Smothers, who resigned from her position in Nashville on April 21, 2016, was hired in Fresno on August 9 after the district conducted a background check.
Metro Nashville Public Schools released the following statement regarding Smothers:
“MNPS cares deeply about the students in our district and has policies and procedures that support our requirements as mandatory reporters to report suspected child abuse or neglect.”
Smothers has been placed on paid administrative leave.