A former teaching assistant has been arrested for allegedly sending a 15-year-old male student nude photos and videos.
23-year-old Christmas White worked at Greenway Middle School in Paradise Valley, Arizona, from August 2018 until May 2019 before she was accused of sending the explicit messages.
She was arrested on suspicion of Aggravated Luring a Minor for Sex and Furnishing Obscene Material to a Minor.
Becky Kelbaugh, spokesperson for the Paradise Valley Unified School District, released a statement on Tuesday (September 10) after learning the teaching assistant had been questioned by police in late August and subsequently arrested.
The letter read:
Prior to hiring any employee, thorough background checks, fingerprint clearances, and reference checks are conducted. All background checks were passed.
At Paradise Valley Schools, our first priority is always the safety and well-being of our students. We take all allegations of misconduct very seriously.
Kelbaugh added White’s employment contract had ended on May 24 and that she hadn’t been in a classroom since May 10, though the district did not specify White’s duties. The information in the statement was also sent in a letter to parents and guardians.
According to court documents cited by AZ Central, officials acted after receiving a tip from a social worker about the teacher.
Officers began investigating the relationship between the former employee and the teenager teen student on August 26. A school police officer asked a student if he had had sex with White and the student said they didn’t have sex but the teaching assistant had sent him nude photographs.
The officer looked on the 15-year-old’s phone and found explicit photos and videos of White.
BREAKING: Phoenix Police they have arrested former educator Christmas White after an investigation alleges she sent nude photos and videos to a teen student’s phone. She has been booked for Aggravated Luring a minor and Furnishing Obscene material to a minor. #12News pic.twitter.com/kcrg6vKuhv
— Michael Doudna (@MichaelDoudna) September 12, 2019
White is also being investigated for allegations she had sex with a different student at the same school.
Fox 10 Phoenix report White was booked into jail following her arrest, and on Thursday she appeared before a judge along with her attorney and a prosecutor for the state of Arizona.
Her attorney asked for her to be released without bail, claiming she was not a flight risk. The 23-year-old is currently a student in her final year at Arizona State University and the attorney argued she ‘has no prior criminal history’ as well as being ’employed locally’ and ‘in Arizona for five years’.
It is unclear whether the judge granted White’s release.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.