Shelby Co. teacher accused of sexual encounters with students - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Shelby Co. teacher accused of sexual encounters with students

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By: Tamara Evans - tevans@fox41.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41)

A high school teacher is sent to jail, accused of having sexual contact with two students.

The Shelby County teacher was arrested on Wednesday.

42-year-old Shannon Hirchert of La Grange transferred to Martha Layne Collins High School last year from Oldham County. Shelby County Superintendent James Neihof says she met a strict criminal background check and reference check before she was hired.

It was during the fall and winter of last year she's accused of having five sexual encounters with one student, and one encounter with another in various locations, including parking lots and a classroom.

School officials were first tipped off about this after an employee overhead a conversation at Martha Layne Collins High School in Shelbyville where she teaches.

And this employee put two and two together and notified the principal, who felt there was a concern that needed to be raised," says Duanne Puckett, the Public Relations Coordinator for the Shelby County Public Schools.

On Tuesday morning, Superintendent James Neihof was made aware of those allegations. He immediately contacted authorities.

On Wednesday morning, Shannon Hirchert was arrested by detectives and charged with 6 counts of sexual abuse, and 2 counts of distribution of obscene matter to minors. Authorities say she sent obscene photos from her phone to two high school students. The alleged incidents happened between September and December of last year.

"They're not conclusive of guilt, so therefore the teacher's been placed on leave pending the investigation," says Duanne Puckett.

"The investigation is still ongoing. We don't anticipate further charges at this point, but we aren't going to discount the fact that could have occurred. There are still interviews we are gathering at this point in time," says Detective Jason Rice with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.

Hirchert is a special education teacher at the high school. Detectives say the two students with whom she allegedly had sexual contact weren't her students, but were student aides in her classroom.

The superintendent sent out a note saying he is "extremely disappointed and appalled by what has been reported about the conduct of one of our employees."

We tried to contact Hirchert late Thursday evening by phone, but were not able to reach her to get her side to this story.

We are told she bonded out of jail on a $5,000 bond. Authorities say they hope to complete this investigation in the coming days, and before school starts back in Shelby County on August 17th.

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