(NEW YORK) — The South Carolina high school teacher who says she was asked to resign after one of her students allegedly stole and shared partially nude photos of her plans to take her case to court.
Leigh Anne Arthur told ABC News she plans to sue her former employer, the Union County Schools District.
“I feel raw, violated,” Arthur said. “It’s something that I’m struggling with on a day-to-day basis.”
Arthur told ABC News that the photos were meant for her husband. She said when she briefly left the phone in her classroom at Union County High School in Union, South Carolina, a male student looked through her device, found the photos and sent them to other students.
Arthur resigned from her teaching position Feb. 24, nearly a week after the incident and after what she describes as pressure from school officials.
“I left my phone. I did not knowingly leave my phone sitting on my desk,” Arthur said. “[I] didn’t think that a student would, would do that.”
The unidentified 16-year-old student has since been charged with computer crimes and aggravated voyeurism for allegedly copying the photos from Arthur’s phone.
Union County Superintendent David Eubanks told ABC News Arthur is deflecting responsibility for leaving her phone unprotected and her classroom unsupervised.
“Teachers have a very strong responsibility to supervise students at all times,” Eubanks said. “Our information indicates that she was not where she should have been at the time this took place.”
Arthur shared with ABC News a copy of the lawsuit she says she intends to file. The lawsuit would seek damages for defamation and breach of contract.
“I want to be able to hold my head up and say, you know, ‘I did all I can do to make sure that I’m getting my dignity back,'” Arthur said.
An online petition demanding Arthur’s reinstatement has grown to over 17,000 signatures.
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