(joplinglobe.com) - A Joplin High School teacher sent between 25 and 40 nude images of herself via cellphone to one 16-year-old student and twice had sex with another student, also 16, according to a probable cause statement submitted in connection with charges filed Friday in Jasper County Circuit Court.
The father of one of the students discovered the images on the phone, and he and his wife confronted the teacher, who admitted to sending the images, according to the statement.
Jessica Low, 32, 2917 S. Pearl Ave., was charged Friday with second-degree statutory rape, second-degree statutory sodomy and furnishing pornographic material to a minor. She was arrested earlier in the week at the ninth- and 10th-grade campus, 310 W. Eighth St., by Joplin police, who were contacted by school officials after receiving a tip.
The Joplin School Board met in special session on Friday and approved administrative recommendations aimed primarily at ensuring that Lowâ€™s teaching certificate is revoked.
In a statement read after the meeting, Superintendent C.J. Huff said he had been directed to formally notify the State Board of Education and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Second Education of the arrest.
Joplin Schools, he said, will fully cooperate in any proceedings to revoke Lowâ€™s teaching certificate and will work with the prosecutorâ€™s office in the criminal matter to request that the surrender of Lowâ€™s teaching certificate be a condition of any plea agreement.
He noted state law requires the teaching certificate be revoked if a teacher pleads guilty or is found guilty of the charges for which Low is accused, adding, â€śI hope sheâ€™ll just go ahead and surrender her teaching certificate and save the taxpayers the expense of having to revoke it.â€ť
He said the board intends to take â€śan aggressive approach,â€ť cooperate fully with the investigation and send a clear message that â€śthat kind of behavior wonâ€™t be tolerated in this district.â€ť
In an interview at the Joplin Childrenâ€™s Center, one of the students disclosed he had receive 25 to 40 nude images of Low via cellphone text messages in the past week, and admitted they had discussed meeting for sex. Another student, also interviewed, said Low had followed him home from school May 19 and the two had intercourse. On May 20, he said, she again followed him home from school for sex.
Low was placed on administrative leave at the time of her arrest. She had taught communication arts for two years at the ninth- and 10th-grade campus, but had submitted her resignation in March and was not scheduled to return next year, Huff said.
She would have been entitled to 10 days in which to appeal being placed on leave, but her contract with the district will end on Tuesday.
â€śI know thatâ€™s confusing to some people, but contracted employees have rights,â€ť Huff said.
Communication arts teacher Jessica Low was released from custody after posting $7,500 bond on Friday, according Jasper County authorities.