A teacher with Spring Branch ISD has been arrested and placed on leave amid allegations that she engaged in sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old female student, including touching the student inappropriately more than once and sending her sexually explicit messages.
32-year-old Whitney Anne Laidlaw has been charged with sexual assault of a child under 17 years of age and improper relationship with a student, based on two alleged incidents which occurred on August 1 and August 14.
The victim told police that Laidlaw was her hip-hop dance teacher at Cornerstone Academy Middle School.
Court documents state that the student told investigators that she and Laidlaw exchanged phone numbers and communicated through the phone, Instagram, and Snapchat. The girl also said that Laidlaw sent her a text message at the end of her 7th-grade year, saying that she had feelings for the girl.
According to the student, Laidlaw attempted to get her to sneak out of her apartment to meet her during the summer after her 7th-grade year. The girl would refuse, but Laidlaw would show up at her apartment anyway after the girl's mother had left for work. The student says that Laidlaw kissed her and touched her inappropriately in the back seat of her vehicle and that this happened more than once.
The girl also says that Laidlaw sent her sexually explicit photos and attempted to convince the girl to send inappropriate videos and photos of herself.
Attorney contributor Marc Lenahan helps the victims of sexual violence find justice and get the financial compensation they deserve. He's offered to add some insight into the legal options available to students who have been sexually abused by teachers and other school staff:
The majority of America's teachers are honorable and respectful people who have a genuine passion for helping kids learn and develop as human beings. But as you may already know, cases of sexual abuse and misconduct by teachers have become commonplace across the country. When a student is sexually abused by a teacher, coach, or someone else employed by a school, it's important both to arrest the perpetrator and to ask if the school bears partial responsibility for failing to prevent the abuse.
If you or your child has been sexually abused by a school employee, it's crucial to be aware of your legal options. We advise discussing your case with an experienced sexual abuse victims lawyer to learn more about your rights.