Elementary School Nurse Had Sex With Student Under 16; Paid for His Silence

Tina Maria Sumner, a former elementary school nurse, has pleaded guilty to two counts of statutory rape and one count of victim tampering, according to the St. Louis Dispatch. The charges stem from sexual relationships with a student under the age of 16 from 2015 to 2017.

The 47-year-old former nurse at Fox Elementary School will spend 120 days at an at-custody sex offender assessment program.

According to reports, the student reported that he and Sumner had sex eight times at his home, her home, and the Fox School District building. After the relationships, Sumner attempted to give the student $2,000 to pay off his car loan in exchange for him staying silent.

From the report:

The teen’s mother provided police with a copy of the check, charges said. Police also said cellphone records revealed calls between Sumner and the boy between June and November of 2017.

Sumner had reportedly been employed at Fox Elementary School for 16 years before the incident became public. She was named the 2005 school nurse of the year by the Jefferson County Association of School Nurses.

Since the beginning of 2019 alone, a handful of teachers have been arrested on similar charges, including 25-year-old substitute teacher Alexis Mercedes Boberg in Baltimore, Beulah High School teacher Kelsie Schmidt in North Dakota, Rancocas Valley Regional High School teacher Alexandra Reiner in New Jersey, and 50-year-old Florida substitute teacher Angela Jean Stanton in Florida. Additionally, Texas teachers Meredith Null and Edna Longoria were arrested on similar charges.

As for why the number of these incidents has seemingly increased, studies suggest that smartphones are the primary reason for the spike in illicit relationships, as it allows teachers to communicate with the minors without supervision.

According to a report from the Texas Education Association, smartphones make easy for teachers to privately text and talk with students and also make it possible for teachers and students to share explicit images.

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