The female principal of a private high school in Florida has been charged with sexually abusing a male student.
Tracy Smith, 43, led Xceed Preparatory Academy for nearly three years before being released from the school, according to reports.
“Everyone at the school was shocked and surprised by the allegations,” school attorney Brian Bieber told CBS News. “No one had any inclination this was going on – if it was. She’s been terminated. That happened immediately after her arrest. That happened yesterday right in front of the school.”
Court documents alleged that a student reported reaching out to Smith for help with his homework. Smith and the student began meeting alone in her office, with the relationship leading to unwanted touching.
The student also claimed that he received suggestive messages from Smith through Snapchat and other apps, including pictures of her wearing a bikini.
On April 17, Smith was arrested and charged with felony soliciting or engaging in sexual conduct by an authority figure. She was released on a $25,000 bond and was banned from school property or contacting the student or other minors. The former school head could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
The former Xceed leader had worked in education for nearly two decades and had been known for her awards and volunteering in the community. Smith’s arrest came as a surprise to many in the school and community over the shocking arrest.
Xceed Preparatory Academy is a private college prep campus in Coral Springs offering courses for both middle and high school students. The academy has two additional locations, with tuition costs as high as $22,500 per year, according to the Miami Herald.
The report is part of a growing number of cases involving female teachers or school leaders arrested for sexual misconduct with students. At least six other female teachers have been charged for having sex with students in April, according to a New York Post report.
The accounts included a 38-year-old teacher’s aide who reportedly had sex with two 16-year-old male students in Kentucky. A second incident noted Arkansas teacher Heather Hare, 32, who turned herself in over allegations of a sexual relationship with a teen student.
In still another case, a 36-year-old English teacher at a Catholic school in Iowa repeatedly had sex multiple times with a male teenage student at least five times. The alleged incidents occurred both inside and outside of the school.