PRINCETON (CBSDFW.COM) - A special education teacher from the Princeton Independent School District has been suspended following accusations of an improper relationship with a student. Saralyn Portwood was arrested after the allegations surfaced, and the superintendent of the district said that he was stunned by the news.
It was a 17-year-old male student from Princeton High School who made these allegations. He was not in any of Portwood's classes.
"This came forward to us on Wednesday and our high school staff started to look into it," explained Superintendent Philip Anthony. "It was just rumors by some kids talking, and some teachers overheard. So, when we found out that there truly was an allegation, we immediately called our local law enforcement."
Portwood was arrested on Thursday at her home in Farmersville. The case has been turned over to the Collin County Sheriff's Department and the Children's Advocacy Center.
Detectives in Collin County stated that the teacher made unwanted advances toward the student for several months and then knowingly engaged in sexual conduct with the teenage victim in her classroom. According to the affidavit, Portwood repeatedly texted the teenager and touched him inappropriately. The arrest warrant also states that the student wanted to report the situation to someone, but did not know how or who to tell.
Anthony said that he was especially shocked to learn about the accusations because there were no warning signs. "Clean criminal history record, good recommendations," he said. "Not a single teacher, a married teacher. You look for things that could have been any indications and we don't see what those could have been."
Portwood is a first-year teacher and assistant softball coach at Princeton High School, with two years of prior experience. She is now suspended with pay pending the outcome of this investigation. The 30-year-old teacher is out of prison on a $10,000 bond. She has not commented on her arrest or the allegations.
Hunter Wood is the brother of a Princeton High School student. "I think she said she's on the softball team," he said. "I just want to see what she has to say. Just teach her and guide her as much as I can."
"It's a sad scenario," added Princeton parent Beau Burns. "There's not really anything that the residents of Princeton can do to avoid something like this from happening, other than just backing up the school board on whatever they decide to do on punishment."
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