A Hilllcrest High School teacher is resigning from the Bonneville County School District after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student, Superintendent Dr. Charles Shackett said.
Assistant softball coach Tom Williams, 42, of Idaho Falls, was charged Wednesday with sexual battery-solicit participation of a minor, Bonneville County Sgt. Jeff Edwards said.
Williams taught social studies at Hillcrest since fall 2004 and coached football and softball.
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office began the investigation on Aug. 11 after a student’s parent reported pornographic images being sent to her 16-year-old daughter from an adult male via a cell phone.
Bonneville County detectives found the two corresponded via text messaging for a couple of days in July and some of those messages included sexually explicit photographs of Williams, Edwards said.
With so many ways to communicate in today’s world, Shackett said teachers must be extra careful.
“Teachers and coaches love their kids. There is a relationship, but there is a line,” Shackett said. “You cannot go beyond that line. You can’t even get close to that line, so we talk to them [teachers] about making sure their actions are appropriate and they don’t get involved in any thing. We say don’t text, don’t friend on Facebook.”
The school district was made aware of the situation Tuesday evening. Williams then submitted his letter of resignation, Shackett said.
The school district is beginning its own investigation to determine how it can prevent any other future inappropriate teacher-student relations.
If convicted, Williams could face up to 25 years in prison.
This is not the first time the district has had a teacher charged with sexual misconduct. A District 93 physical education teacher was charged with sexual misconduct two years ago.