SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – The educator certificate of a Spartanburg County teacher has been suspended after school district officials received information that she was present while students “engaged in sexual acts” in her classroom.
According to an order of suspension from the S.C. Board of Education, Elizabeth Bennett’s certificate was suspended for one year.
Bennett was an art teacher at Byrnes High School.
She was placed on administrative leave in December following allegations of “unprofessional conduct in failing to supervise students in her classroom.”
According to the order, district officials received information that Bennett was in the classroom when two students engaged in sexual acts.
The incidents reportedly occurred several times in the back of the classroom behind a lab table during a period of the day when students received tutoring, completed homework, ate lunch or participated in clubs or other organizations.
Bennett was reportedly shocked when confronted about the allegations and said the students were in the back of the room and could not always be seen.
She said the students were not left alone in the room.
A student reportedly saw the two engaging in the activity while getting supplies in the back of the room.
Bennett reportedly chose to resign from her position with Spartanburg County District Five Schools, effective March 11, 2018.
According to the document, the State Board voted to suspend Bennett’s educator certificate effective May 8.
The suspension will end on May 7, 2019.
“If Ms. Bennett wishes to have her educator certificate reinstated at the end of the suspension period, she shall make a written request to the SCDE’s Office of Educator Services and shall meet all certification requirements in effect at the time she requests reinstatement,” according to the document.
Bennett will also be instructed to complete the NASDTEC “Prevention and Corrections” course, which is about professional boundaries and ethics, before the educator certificate can be reinstated.