UPDATED ON 6: Former Teacher of the Year Arrested, Accused Of Inappropriate Communication With Student
By Deon Guillory, WJBF GMA Weekend Anchor/Reporter - email
Mug shot of Debra Reneae Tanksley (Credit: Burke County Sheriff's Office)
Burke County, GA -
***UPDATED at 5:45 P.M. on Wednesday, May 14th***
37-year-old Debra Tanskley is charged with Criminal Attempt Sexual Assault and Electronically Furnishing Obscene Material to Minors.
She is also being accused of fixing grades for the student investigators say she had inappropriate contact with at Burke County High School.
That contact, by cell phone, and investigators say this case is similar to one last week.
Debra Tanksley was the Burke County Public Schools' 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year.
She turned herself into the Burke County Sheriff's Office Wednesday afternoon.
Investigators say this was discovered during a previous investigation.
"During the course of that investigation, it was determined that some contact had been made between the teacher and the student at the high school," said Sgt. Dedric Smith with the Burke County Sheriff's Office.
Sgt. Smith says that contact between Tanksley and the student was text messages and pictures, but he couldn't go into detail about the types of pictures sent.
Burke County Schools sent a statement that reads in part "Inappropriate communication between a second Burke County High School teacher and a Burke County High School student have been brought to the attention of School Superintendent, Mr. Rudy Falana. These findings arose during an ongoing investigation last week that led to the arrest of another BCHS teacher."
The teacher arrested last week is Ashley Ashe.
She turned herself in to authorities and is now facing aggravated child molestation charges.
Ashe is accused of having a sexual encounter with a 16-year-old student at Burke County High school.
Sgt. Smith said, "It doesn't happen often. We've had some incidents in the past where a teacher had been arrested for similar type of activity."
As Tanksley, a high school English teacher awaits her fate, Smith says a conversation between parents and kids is key.
"Have an open line of communication with them and hopefully, they will come to you if something like this is taking place, the child will be able to go to the parent and tell the parent," said Sgt. Smith.
Tanksley has been placed on administrative leave.
The Burke County Sheriff's Department and the GBI continue to investigate.
WJBF News Channel 6 has learned more information about a Burke County High School teacher who is accused of having inappropriate electronic communication with a student at the school.
The teacher has been identified at 37-year-old Debra Tanksley. She is a literature and language arts teacher at the school. Burke County teacher information
We are told the incident in question with Tanksley is related to incidents involving another teacher at the school, Ashley Ashe, who was arrested last week after being accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with a 16-year-old Burke County High School student.
We are told the inappropriate electronic communications Tanksley is accused of having with a student were text message, including photo messages.
There are also allegations Tanksley was "fixing" the student's grades.
Back in October of 2012, Tanksley was name Burke County Teacher of the Year.
Our Deon Guillory is in Burke County investigating the allegations and he will have more on this developing story as information becomes available.
We received a statement Wednesday morning from the Burke County Sheriff's Office concerning a Burke County High School teacher being accused of Inappropriate Electronic Communications with a student.
Read the text of the press release below:
At the request of the Burke County Board of Education, the Burke County Sheriff's Office has initiated an investigation into allegations of Inappropriate Electronic Communications by a teacher with a student at Burke County High School.
The teacher in question is expected to turn herself in this morning. Further information will be released as it becomes available.
The office of Burke County School Superintendent Rudy Falana released the following statement concerning the teacher:
Inappropriate communication between a second Burke County High School teacher and a Burke County High School student have been brought to the attention of School Superintendent, Mr. Rudy Falana. These findings arose during an ongoing investigation last week that led to the arrest of another BCHS teacher.
Immediately, a preliminary inquiry was conducted by the school system which caused the immediate activation of the “mandate to report” policy. As a result, law enforcement, Burke County Sheriff’s Department and Georgia Bureau of Investigation, was contacted, conducted this investigation, and the Burke County High School teacher in question is expected to turn herself in this afternoon.
The Burke County School System placed the teacher on administrative leave and at this time no other details will be released in regards to the teacher or the teacher’s employment.
This is the second time in two weeks a Burke County High School teacher has run afoul of the law.
Ashley Ashe was arrested and charged last week, after turning herself in to authorities, with aggravated child molestation. She is accused of having a sexual encounter with a 16-year-old student at the school.