Five things to know about the teacher scandal at Byrnes High School
A veteran South Carolina teacher was suspended, then resigned after a classroom sex scandal at an Upstate school.
Elizabeth Bennett was an art teacher at Byrnes High School, but she resigned and retired after it was revealed that she was present in the classroom when two students engaged in sexual acts, foxcarolina.com reported.
Bennett was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 8, 2017, after the Spartanburg County School District received information about incidents that reportedly occurred multiple times in the back of the classroom, according to wspa.com.
Bennett resigned in January after 24 years of teaching, foxcarolina.com reported.
Despite Bennett's decision to resign, the South Carolina State Board of Education voted to suspend her educator certificate for one year, effective May 8, 2018, according to the Order of Suspension on ed.sc.gov.
According to the order, if Bennett wishes to return to teaching in 2019, she must first complete a course on professional boundaries and ethics.
Bennett has no prior history of disciplinary action with the State Board. But the "unprofessional conduct in failing to supervise students in her classroom" was enough to merit action, according to the State Board.
Though she chose to resign, effective in March, Bennett told the State Board that she was "shocked and dismayed" by the allegations of the students' sexual acts.
While Bennett said the students were not left alone in the room, she conceded that she could not always see them behind a lab table during "Power Hour" — a period of the day where Byrnes High students can receive tutoring, complete homework, eat lunch or participate in clubs or other organizations, wspa.com reported.
Another student reportedly saw the two students engaging in the sexual acts while getting supplies in the back of the room, according to the order.
Because of the suspension of her educator certificate, Bennett can not teach in any South Carolina school district.