Fulton school employee investigated

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FULTON - A Fulton Public Schools employee was not at work Monday after FPS and the Fulton Police Department launched an investigation into reports of inappropriate electronic contact between the employee and a student.

FPS superintendent Jacque Cowherd said the reported contact between the male employee and the 17-year-old female high school student was sexually explicit and occurred via Snapchat. 

Fulton Chief of Police Steve Myers said the school turned the case over to them on Friday; since that time, no charges have been filed in the case, and no one is in custody.

School officials on Monday said no evidence of inappropriate physical contact had surfaced in the case, only inappropriate electronic communication.

Neither the name of the student nor the name of the employee has been released. The employee was a member of the FPS staff, not a teacher.

The student who received the illicit communication reported it to school officials late last week. Cowherd said the student presented screenshots of the communication to school officials, who corroborated the student's account of the incident through interviews with several other students.

"The high school administration and faculty here have created a culture of openness so that the fear factor of coming forward with a serious allegation like this doesn't stop students from reporting," Cowherd said. 

After the reports surfaced on Friday, the employee was removed from the building and FPS initiated an investigation through the Fulton Police Department.

FPS officials declined to comment on his employment status, although they did confirm he was not at work on Monday. 

Parents of Fulton Public Schools students received an email from FPS last week alerting them of the incident.

The statement read: “Fulton Police and FPS staff are investigating a male employee’s inappropriate electronic contact with a female FPS student. To our knowledge, no physical contact has been determined. FPS administration is taking immediate steps to ensure the safety of all students when school resumes on Monday.”

At this time, Cowherd said the investigation will be handled by the Fulton Police Department.

"We have detectives on this case," Myers said. "We will continue to investigate the incident, but at this time, no charges are filed and no one's in custody."

Both Cowherd and Myers said a school employee's sexual contact or misconduct with a student of a public or private K-12 school can be punishable by law, even if a student has reached the age of consent.