Hailey Pardy, a 25-year-old former math teacher at Bastrop High School in Texas, was busted for having sex with a 15-year-old student. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Pardy was arrested and charged for an incident that took place in December 2018 just months after she began her job.
Pardy faces a second-degree felony charge of having an improper relationship with a student.
After learning of the incident nine months later, the school district placed Pardy on paid administrative leave before she was ultimately fired.
“The action of this teacher does not represent the more than 1,300 caring, dedicated and talented educators who make up Bastrop ISD,” district spokesman Kristi Lee said of the incident. “The foundation of the teacher-student relationship is one of trust, and when that trust is violated, it angers and saddens us.”
If convicted on the charge, Pardy could face up to 20 years in prison.
Over the course of the past year 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.