This week’s married fourth-grade teacher busted for allegedly traumatizing two male high school students for about two years with a bunch of sex is Tennille Whitaker.
Whitaker, 40, taught — until just recently — at Wells Combined School in Wells, Nevada, a tiny speck of a town in the northeast corner of the state.
Elko County sheriff’s deputies arrested Whitaker, a mother of two, on Monday, according to Elko Daily Free Press, the local newspaper.
The two male students were between the ages of 16 years old and 18 years old when Whitaker allegedly traumatized them with the bouts of sex, Elko County Undersheriff Ron Supp told the Daily Free Press.
Some of the sex romps occurred on school grounds, investigators say.
The sheriff’s department began investigating Whitaker’s alleged sexual proclivities with the two local teenagers back in October based on a tip from a parent who had observed the teacher and a teen alone behind a closed classroom door.
The Elko County school district initiated its own investigation in February.
Both investigations were difficult.
“Nobody was really willing to testify or give a statement that said ‘yes, this happened,’” school district superintendent Jeff Zander told the Daily Free Press.
Undaunted, sheriff’s deputies say they placed Whitaker under surveillance and pursued “some unconventional investigation” to break the case.
Once the deputies arrested Whitaker, school district officials placed her on paid leave.
“The teacher has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending full investigation and we’re fully cooperating with the sheriff’s office to facilitate the investigation,” school district superintendent Jeff Zandertold the newspaper.
“The Elko County school district takes this very seriously and we have policies in place to prohibit this type of conduct,” Zander added. “The safety of our students is the highest priority.”
Supp, the undersheriff, said he suspects Whitaker may have traumatized additional local male teenagers with sex.
“At this point in the investigation we have two students that have been involved but we think there are possibly more,” he told the Daily Free Press.
Whitaker, an 11-year veteran with the Elko County school district, currently faces eight counts of sexual conduct with a pupil.
A judge set the teacher’s bail at $160,000, according to Reno NBC affiliate KRNV.
She posted the bail sometime this week.
Meanwhile, the Daily Free Presslater reported that Elko County school district officials have now decided it would be a good idea to increase restrictions on — and better monitor — social media communications between teachers and students.