A 22-year-old substitute teacher at a D.C. charter school for at-risk youth was arrested Tuesday and charged with having oral sex with a student football player behind the teacher’s classroom desk, according to police and court documents.
The 17-year-old 11th-grader at Options Public Charter School secretly recorded part of the encounter Friday afternoon, which police said happened at the end of an English class in Room 266 while other students and faculty members were at a pep rally to cheer on the Options Panthers before a game against Perry Street Prep. Police said the student showed the video to five of his football teammates and a childhood friend.
The student and teacher then texted each other throughout the weekend, and the teacher sent him a clothed picture of herself while urging the student to “chill” because she could get in trouble for the relationship, police said.
Options leaders believe the video went viral within the school community. A faculty member saw the video and reported it to senior staff members, who notified city officials.
Symone Greene of Fort Washington is charged with first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, a felony. A Superior Court judge ruled that Greene could be released until a preliminary hearing Nov. 18, but put her on a high-intensity supervision program, meaning she must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.
Court documents say that after police called to question Greene about the classroom encounter, she texted the victim’s phone and urged him to tell authorities that she “only helped him with his résumé and nothing else happened while they were in the classroom together.”
A detective had the student’s phone at that point, and the officer, pretending to be the student, engaged in a chat. Greene blamed the student for talking, according to a transcript of the discussion.
“Omg . . . don’t talk to me ever again,” Greene texted. “I’m bout to be put in jail.” At the end, Greene texted: “This can ruin my whole life. . . . why couldn’t u just keep it to urself.”
Shannon Hodge, executive director of Options Public Charter School, said Greene had been hired through a private company, SOS Personnel, to cover a one-day scheduled teacher absence. SOS did not respond to messages left with its answering service. Hodge said her school is no longer using the company.
“We are deeply concerned about what happened to one of our scholars,” Hodge said in a statement. “Our goal is to keep our scholars safe and secure.”
A police affidavit says the student was assisting Greene in a classroom Friday on the school’s campus in the 1300 block of E Street NE in Capitol Hill. He had been passing out papers in two of Greene’s English classes and retrieving supplies. Authorities said the two met for the first time that day but flirted throughout the first class. Near the end of the final class, the student gave the teacher his cellphone number.
A few minutes later, police said, Greene sent the student a text. The two proceeded to chat, although the student deleted the messages and could recall only parts of the conversation, according to the affidavit. At one point, the student said he texted the word “kinky,” the court document says, and the teacher allegedly responded, “I don’t tell I show.”
The student told police that he returned to the classroom at 3:26 p.m. and that Greene let him in; he said that because of the pep rally, he had to leave by 3:40 p.m. According to the affidavit, the student asked for a number of sex acts to match the number on his jersey. Police said that the encounter happened behind Greene’s desk and that the student used his cellphone to secretly record it.
That weekend, before police became involved, Greene texted the student “not to tell anyone because it is not right for a student and teacher to have a relationship.”
The incident at Options comes at a turbulent time for one of the city’s oldest charter schools, which was founded to serve troubled teenagers and students with disabilities, focusing on the city’s at-risk youth. Options has been under heavy scrutiny since city officials alleged in a lawsuit last fall that its former leaders diverted more than $3 million from the school through contracts to companies they founded.
The future for Options was thrown into uncertainty. The city’s charter board considered closing it but instead allowed it to stay open for the current school year under court receivership. Two charter operators — including the current leaders of Options — have applied to take it over long-term.
Options was made over “almost from scratch” before it reopened in August under new leadership and with new staff members, according to the school’s court-appointed receiver, who submitted a report about the school to the city’s charter school board. More than 40 of the school’s 116 teachers and staff members are new employees, and many of those who returned were assigned to new positions.
Hodge, the school’s director, said a faculty member saw the video Monday and immediately notified a senior staff member, who called D.C. Child and Family Services and D.C. police. Hodge said she assumes the video, shared with five of the student’s teammates, “has gone viral” within the school community. She said administrators had not identified the players who originally saw the video. She said she would like to use the incident to instruct students on the inappropriateness of not only the alleged sex act but also the sharing of the video.
“Kids of this age just don’t understand the consequences of this type of behavior,” Hodge said.
After the alleged encounter Friday, the student and teacher continued to exchange texts, although Greene was becoming more cautious.
“When u trying to see me again?” the student asked, according to the affidavit. Police said the teacher responded: “Oo. U gona get me in trouble. Chill. We gotta be slick with it.”
At another point, police said, Greene told the student: “Tru but u don’t just be having sex with just anybody but I cant doe my body is taken for my boyfriend.”