Charleston, SC – A South Carolina mathematics teacher allegedly coerced one of her 17-year-old male students into having sex with her by threatening his grade if he refused.
The student and his mother filed a lawsuit against the Charleston County School District on Sept. 20, alleging that school officials were negligent and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the teen, The Post and Courier reported.
Burke High School calculus and algebra teacher Jennifer Olajire-Aro was arrested on a single count of sexual battery on a student 16 or 17 years of age in December of 2017.
Olajire-Aro, 27, was also the school’s tennis coach at the time the alleged incidents occurred.
The criminal matter is still pending in the courts.
According to the lawsuit, Olajire-Aro began flirting with the student while he was enrolled in her math class in August of 2017.
They had discussions about sex before, after, and during class, as well as through phone and social media text applications, the lawsuit said.
Olajire-Aro, a married mother of one, allegedly “encouraged and coerced” the boy, identified only as “John Doe,” to have sex with her at various locations, including at her home, at the school, and in her vehicle, according to the lawsuit.
Court documents said that on at least one occasion, they had sex while Olajire-Aro’s 10-month-old child was present.
“Each time Plaintiff John Doe would dismiss Aro’s advances and requests to perform sexual intercourse with her, Aro would remind Plaintiff John Doe that she alone controlled what grade he would receive in her class,” the lawsuit said, according to The Post and Courier.
John Doe said that Olajire-Aro made “public, direct, and obvious advances” towards him even in the presence of other students, and that he eventually began skipping class in order to avoid her.
According to the lawsuit, Olajire-Aro ultimately reduced John Doe’s grade “from a 98 to an 89,” after he refused to have sex with her in December of 2017.
The teen waited until after his final semester grade had been recorded before he told his mother about what had taken place between him and Olajire-Aro.
The math teacher was arrested on Dec. 19, 2017.
“Ultimately, Ms. Aro confessed to the sexual encounters with the student,” an arrest affidavit said, according to The Post and Courier.
“She is an awesome teacher but she is a hellacious person for what she did,” John Doe’s mother told the court through tears during Olajire-Aro’s bond hearing. “He is 17… He is not an adult.”
Olajire-Aro, who has a master’s degree in education, surrendered her educator certificate to the State Board of Education in January.
She had no prior history of criminal offenses, and was in her first year of teaching when the incidents occurred.
The Charleston County School District said Olajire-Aro was no longer employed as a teacher as of Jan. 22, according to WCSC.
The lawsuit further alleged that the school district “has a history of employees engaging in romantic relationships with students, committing sexual acts on students, storing and viewing pornography on CCSD issued computers.”
It also accused the district of failing to properly train and supervise Olajire-Aro with regard to school policies.
“If the district won’t fix the problem, the courts will,” John Doe’s attorney, Mark Peper, told The Post and Courier.