Partially nude photos result in educator's license suspension - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Partially nude photos result in educator's license suspension

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

As students embark on their next school year, questions are finally being answered as to why former assistant principal Sarah Sheldon stepped down unexpectedly last December.

On December 8th 2016, the State Board received notification from Superintendent Linda Filpula of the Laurel middle school assistant principal's resignation. The incident is outlined through audio transcripts recorded during the State Board of Education meeting on July 13th. According to the transcript, there was a reported incident on December 1st regarding technology misuse involving Sheldon and a  former district student. On December 12th, an informal investigative conference call was made with Sheldon. She stated she received and accepted a Facebook friend request from the former student in September 2016.

"At the time, she realized he had been a former student five years ago," Kristine Thatcher, program manager from the Office of Public Instruction Educator Licensure, said. "His messages had been flirtatious and ongoing for a period of weeks. She was home alone during one evening drinking when he requested some photos. Cell phone numbers were exchanged and she sent some partially nude photos. The next day she realized what she had done tried to contact him but was unable to. She dropped all correspondence with him."

Two and a half months later, pictures resurfaced from a third party.

"There may also be a video," Thatcher said. "It has not surfaced to our knowledge."

Sheldon declined to voluntarily hand over her license. In 2002, Sheldon received her license. in 2010, she was licensed as an administrator. Her current license expires in 2020.

At the time the communication took place, the man was 17-years-old and not enrolled in Laurel public schools. Sheldon claims she did not have any physical contact with the student. KULR 8 reached out to Sheldon today by phone and by visiting residence. While we were unable to speak with her directly, she did provide the following statement to the Billings Gazette. In the statement, Sheldon is quoted as saying: "There are always two sides to every story and extenuating circumstances, as well, I have chosen not to defend myself in order to protect my family. Please understand that, and respect us going forward."

Sheldon will be able to reapply for her educator and administrator license in 3 years. A letter of recommendation from a licensed therapist is required.

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