A teacher recently fired from Alpine School District will be arraigned in 8th Circuit Court next week on third-degree felony charges that she distributed harmful material to two boys in her fifth-grade class.
Cynthia Gee, 25, Orem, taught at Alpine Elementary School during the past school year and was fired from the district after administrators learned of the incident, Superintendent Steven Baugh saidGerald Nielsen, Orem Public Safety information officer, said Gee has been served a summons to appear in court July 21. The charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Orem police received complaints in mid-May that Gee had shown the boys, 10 and 11 years old, sex-related material during a slumber party at her home. After a six-week investigation, police charged the teacher but did not arrest her because there is no reason to believe she will not appear in court, Nielsen said.
Nielsen said the incident occurred on or about May 16, but Gee said the boys spent the night at her home with the permission of their parents on April 20, after they spent the evening baby-sitting her children.
Police would not say who filed the compliant, but Gee said it was filed by the parents of a child who was not present the evening of the incident.
"They heard a story that was blown way out of proportion," she said.
The former teacher said that at one point in the evening when she had left the room, the boys took a dictionary from her bookshelf and began looking up anatomical terms. When she returned to the room and discovered the activity, she gave the students a Masters and Johnson book to look at, instead.
"Rather than me saying anything, I allowed them to look at the book. I think I made an error in judgment, and I think the whole thing has been taken way beyond the limits that it should have," Gee said. "The school district is a lot at fault, because I was hired after the year began last fall, and I was never given an orientation. Had I been oriented and known that it would be a problem, I wouldn't have had the kids spend the night."
Gee said her assignment at Alpine Elementary was her first teaching experience. She worked part time in the afternoons at the school.
Baugh disputes Gee's claim that she was not given an orientation.
"Her principal would have oriented her," he said. "She was terminated for cause."
Alpine's sex education policy forbids teachers to discuss anything related to the sex act, but there is not a school board-approved policy on holding slumber parties, and Baugh said it is possible Gee was not told to avoid them.
"Do we specifically say it to every new teacher every year? I think we do not," he said.