A middle school teacher from Alabama has been arrested and accused of sexual abusing a child.
AL.com reported that Ashton Alana McCluskey is a married 26 year-old woman who has been working as a math teacher at Brooks High School since 2017. A former cheerleader at the University of Alabama, McCluskey was also a private cheer coach at the school, which has 490 students. She had actually attended Brooks High School herself as a student when she was growing up.
McCluskey was placed on administrative leave back in January after allegations arose that she had sex with a student. She turns herself in to police last Wednesday after she was charged with two counts of sexual conduct with a student under the age of 17, and she has since been released on $50,000 bond.
McCluskey is facing twenty years in prison if convicted, and she has yet to enter a plea. WAFF-TV reported that someone with a connection to the case has a relative at the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office. For this reason, the State Bureau of Investigation has taken over the case in order to avoid any conflict of interest.
This comes one month after another teacher was arrested in Florida for a similar crime. Hayley Hallmark, 35, was a teacher and soccer coach before she was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a student for two years. She has since been harged with lewd and lascivious conduct with a student by an authority figure, a second-degree felony.
The local sheriff’s office released a statement saying that the sexual abuse began in August 2018, when the alleged victim was just 15 years old. The alleged relationship between Hallmark and the student ended in August of 2020.
“Investigators say the relationship began with texts, and progressed to sexting, before leading to multiple physical encounters at multiple locations,” the statement alleged.
The abuse came to light when the female student confided in another teacher about it. The student later told police that Hallmark had abused her in her own classroom as well as at each of their respective homes.
The Okaloosa County School Board said that it will fully be cooperating with law enforcement.
“Okaloosa County teachers represent the highest standard of professionalism, ethics, and morality,” said Superintendent Marcus Chambers. “When an educator fails to live up to that high standard, we’re all impacted. Student safety and well-being is our highest priority, and we expect our employees’ conduct to be consistent with that priority.”