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Teacher resigns after student shares nude photos found on her unlocked phone

The sheriff's office is investigating, and students have put up a petition to reinstate her that's gotten thousands of signatures.

A teacher leaves her iPhone sitting on her desk, unlocked.

A kid picks it up, finds photos of the teacher partially undressed, snaps photos of the photos with his own phone, and promises to share them with any student who wants them.

Who’s at fault?

A US high school in South Carolina is blaming the teacher, former Union County High School teacher Leigh Anne Arthur.

But an online petition put up by students seeking her reinstatement has been gathering thousands of signatures, and the sheriff’s office is now investigating the theft.

It reportedly happened last week, on Monday. It’s unknown how many students the boy allegedly texted or emailed the photos to.

The school gave Arthur an ultimatum: slog through the dismissal process, or just resign.

She chose the latter, resigning last Tuesday.

Arthur, who worked at the school for 13 years, taught mechatronics: a combination of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer programming.

She had taken the erotic photos for her husband, as a Valentine’s Day gift.

Arthur told TV station WYFF that she left her phone on her desk for a few minutes while she went out on a routine patrol of the school’s hallways, during class changeover.

She said that while she was out of the room, one of her students – a 16-year-old boy – picked up the unlocked phone, accessed her apps, and then got into her photo gallery.

The school held the teacher responsible for not locking her phone and thereby possibly contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

As for the boy, WYFF reports that the Union County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case and will determine whether the student is charged.

In the days following the publishing of the story, backlash against the school’s actions has been ferocious. Interim Superintendent David Eubanks has lashed back, accusing Arthur of lying about the student having a grudge against her.

According to Arthur, the student told her that “your day of reckoning is coming.”

Eubanks says that’s a lie. He also claims that there’s evidence pointing to Arthur allowing students to “routinely” use her phone “with her full permission.”

The Daily Mail quotes him:

One of the most critical responsibilities that a classroom teacher has is the supervision of students. In this particular case there was a breakdown in the classroom in that most critical area.

Evidence and statements indicate that the teacher was not where she should have been at the time the incident occurred.

As a result, a student accessed inappropriate material on her phone, sent it to others, and as a result may also be severely punished by law enforcement as well as the school district.

This is a case where a staff member, properly supervising students, could have prevented a very serious problem.

Arthur forgives the kid for the crime of, well, being a kid:

He’s 16. He’s going to make stupid decisions. We all make stupid decisions at 16.

But that doesn’t absolve him, she said:

He knows right and wrong. He had the ultimate decision to take pictures of my pictures, and he had the ultimate decision to send them out.

Should she have locked her phone?

Yes, of course. We should all lock our phones, just like we should close our windows and take the keys out of the ignition when we walk away from our cars.

But not doing so isn’t a crime.

Not doing so doesn’t make it OK for burglars to reach into our homes when the windows are open, to drive off with our cars or to pick up our unsecured phones and rifle through our photos.

Those are the crimes, and people who take advantage of such acts of negligence are the criminals.

In this case, it looks like Arthur is clearly the victim, but it’s up for investigators to determine that, not us.

As of Friday morning, the petition put up by her students to force the school board to reinstate Arthur had garnered over 10,000 signatures.

But Arthur’s not sure she’ll ever want to go back, she said.

If you don’t already have a passcode on your phone, please enable that now. And make sure you keep your phone locked when you’re not using it.

Image of Woman taking selfie courtesy of


I’m going to say this once: Yes we should lock our phones to prevent others from accessing our stuffs but forgetting that is also possible… I mean no one is capable of 100% locking their phones every single moment we leave it, we always sometime forget our keys on the door of our house, we always sometimes forget to take one of our bags when we leave a place, or a paper, or anything….

The decision of booting out a teacher because of a small error like that is rather stupid and inhuman. The kid on the other hand is another story, he had the decision of doing or not doing what he did, and he did it knowing exactly that he did something wrong but did it for the fun of it. He is stupid, maybe naive, but surely cruel and ambitious, he let his own desire take power over common sense. If we want to teach kids to know proper value of respect and compassion, we should not punish the teacher but the student, otherwise he’ll do it again and again, and won’t care who he hurts or destroys.

I say throw the damn kid out and tell his parents to be better parents or punish him with a lot of work that will be taken into account with his grade.
Kids like these, if we let them be, they’ll become worst as they are immune to their own mistakes.

I am myself a student, and I know how cruel kids of his age and older can be to people when they are given complete freedom of doing so. Most of them become the worst bullies in life.


In my opinion, the teacher in this case is more to blame than the teacher in , but the mainstream reaction is pretty much the opposite.


The punk knew it would end her career in education and did it for that reason alone.
No matter if she gets her job back, the punk gets arrested/suspended, he needs an ass whooping.
If I was her husband, I’d set a calendar reminder for when the punk turns 18.
On the bright side, she will likely be earning 3x as much next year at a corporate job, the down side, how many students won’t get the education to help them get those jobs.


The punk did what punks do……and should be punished for it.
But the teacher did what is tantamount to bringing a girly mag into a school and leaving it where the students were.


What the student did is logically no different from having gone to the teacher’s house, stolen her camera, and distributed the pictures. The school has no business being involved in or supervising the teacher’s home marital life. The teacher’s phone is a private object, not a publicly published ‘girlie mag’.


What is the official reason for asking for the teacher’s resignation? Why would her teacher’s union not protect her? If I drop my car keys and someone picks them up, are they then absolved of any wrongdoing if they use the keys to drive my car and enter my house? In short, what happened to common sense and reasoned discourse?


Because she hasd the choice of being fired or resigning. They didn’t expell or even suspend the kid under investigation but SLED had to come in and arrest him because of the charges he has against him so atleast it’s progressing I the right direction.


I keep seeing folks cry about victim blaming. I think everyone can agree that the student’s actions were wrong. Is the teacher also not in the wrong for bringing nude/semi nude photos to a public school full of minors? Who does that? It doesn’t seem to hold up to the high ethical standards expected of the position and seems like it may fall under possibly illegal activity.

As the article states: “The school held the teacher responsible for not locking her phone and thereby possibly contributing to the delinquency of a minor.” I can see their point.


@Blake…. I would agree with you if the school owned the phone.

The phone is her property… you are not required to lock you house when you leave. If someone breaks in while it is unlocked, its is still a crime and you call the insurance company to get your items/cash back. You dont go to jail since someone else committed a crime.


You might want to read your home insurance contract. Certainly, if I left my home unlocked and then tried to claim on insurance when someone stole from it I would be committing insurance fraud. I signed a contract that says I won’t do that.


The problem for me is that the student action’s HAVE NOT been viewed by the administration as wrong. That’s what makes the issue. If the school has a policy that says personal mobile devices must be locked when not in use, then I agree she was in violation of it (although I doubt that such a policy existed, and if so, that the penalty is forced resignation). To make an analogy, say the teacher obtained a prescription (legally) from her doctor for Oxycontin to combat pain she is having. If she leaves it in her purse and leaves the room, and said juvenile opens her purse and takes the drugs, is she contributing to the delinquency of a minor? That’s a hard argument to accept.


I asked my teacher wife about this and it didn’t surprise her that a teacher might allow a student to use their device. She said that so much classroom delivery almost assumes every student has tablets or phones that a student that doesn’t or doesn’t have it on them or a kid with a broken school tablet or device cannot participate in a classroom activity. Thus the teacher does what a lot of teachers so, put their own resources at risk and give the kid what they have on hand, their personal device.
My wife just had a student steal her phone, out of her bag, and destroy it. We still don’t know what the girl was thinking she was going to do, the phone was locked and I regularly check it’s location. I think this shows that a student who doesn’t care about the property of others is going to do whatever they will. No questionable use cases required.


It seems someone else has some sense. The student has been arrested after an investigation by state law enforcement.


The teacher displayed bad judgement by having her nude photos on her phone in the first place and then not locking it. But the kid is nothing but a thief–no excuses.


No excuses? You just supplied two excuses by saying the teacher ‘displayed bad judgement by having her nude photos on her phone in the first place and then not locking it’.


Just because somebody has made poor security decisions does not justify them being targetted by criminals. Nor does learning from the mistakes of victims mean you support what happenned to them.


Here’s an idea: the down-side of naked or semi-naked digital photos of yourself is that they might end up on the internet, and ruin your life. So- however much fun it might be to send congressman-crotch shots to fans on Twitter, or topless come-hither pix to a boyfriend- you might want to weight that against the possibility your phone might get lifted by a snotty middle school student.


The boy was arrested and has two charges. He is in the juvenile facility in the state capital. BUT STILL HAS NOT BEEN EXPELLED. Hopefully he will be soon because that’s screwed up. They MADE her choose between being fired and resigning but did nothing to punish the kid (he wasn’t even suspended pending investigation!) not to mention he already had a a list on his juvi record! Yeah he’s 16, but it’s not right for the superintendent to brush him off and make it look like it wasn’t his fault and put complete blame on the teacher.. For some reason they want him to look innocent but it’s not the first time he’s been in trouble with the law or the school.And thanks to this dumbass kid for doing one stupid thing (and don’t say he’s acting like a teenager because teenagers normally don’t do this crap, they pull stupid pranks and THIS isn’t a prank) he’s ruined the lives of the people around him.

And last thing. SHE WAS DOING HER JOB. The teachers are most definitely supposed to monitor the halls during class change. Not once was there any problems up until now. And for the interm superintendent to say she wasn’t doing her job is ludacris and he should be ashamed of lying about her. Every teacher stands by their door and greets students as they come in and watched the halls to make sure the rest of the student are safe. Nobody ever said why her phone was left on her desk. She could’ve just had a break or lunch and forgot she had it there when she was straightening up. You never know. And when all the facts are left out that’s when people play the blame game and that’s what the IS is trying to do is make her out to be a liar and a manipulator to cover his as and the school when it gets taken to court.


Anyone can make a fault, but the teacher did 3 faults:
1. Taking nude pictures
2. Not setting up lock on her phone
3. Leaving the phone unattended
This is extremely stupid behavior. I am not saying the school had right to force her to resign, but I am saying that she should resign herself.
What if she brought printed nude pictures inserted in the private paper book and left it on the desk unattended? What would be reactions of the people who say that “anyone can make fault”? For me the unlocked phone and a book is the same. I agree that the boy did wrong and should be punished. But I understand that he took the opportunity – too tempting for the guys of his age.


1. the punk intentionally went through the phone looking for a way to hurt her, 2. he didn’t do it to look at the pictures, he did it to destroy her career, something she had been working on before he was born. 3. he gloated over it and advertised his criminal activity.
There was no temptation, it was intentionally criminal from the moment he picked up the phone, had no idea what he would find on it and looked through it, then stole images not belonging to him, then immediately used the images to destroy her career. It’s NOT like there was a nude image on the display and he ran to the bathroom to pound his flounder, his actions were with criminal intent from the start.


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