Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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Teacher pleads guilty to student relationship

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Teacher pleads guilty to student relationship
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What started as a rumor has become a reality. A Corning teacher has pleaded guilty to having an inappropriate relationship with a student. Teri Decker, 40, was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Our Lara Greenberg has more on how parents and students are reacting to the news.

CORNING, N.Y. -- Corning East High is down one teacher and not because of budget cuts. Wednesday morning, Teri Decker, a teacher at East High, pleaded guilty to having an inappropriate relationship with one of her 16-year-old students.

Police say they found thousands of sexually explicit text messages that she sent to the student. They say the two also kissed and groped each other on school property in February.

"I was a little surprised at first, but I think the school handled it as well as they could," said Shannon Boler, the mother of an East High student.

Teri Decker has been a health teacher here at East High since 2003. The school has never had a problem with her until now. Now she's out on paid administrative leave while a substitute takes over her classes.

"I was surprised and I cried because I really love her. She was a good teacher."

C-PP Superintendent Mike Ginalski couldn't comment directly about the incident, but he says this is the first time he can remember something like this happening in the district.

"We're researching all avenues with our attorneys at this point as far as next steps. This news has come so fast and furious today that we still need to do that," said Ginalski.

Steuben County Assistant District Attorney says Decker faces up to one year in jail, three years probation or a fine for the misdemeanor. But this plea now gives the victim the chance to move on.

"I know it's been a very, very difficult, trying time for them. I'm hoping that with today's plea, it gives them some closure," said Steuben County Assistant District Attorney Brooks Baker.

And hopefully puts an end to the rumor mill at East High.

Decker will reappear in Corning City Court in July for sentencing.

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