A former teacher in Georgia who pleaded guilty to having sex
with an underage male student has been sentenced to spend at
least three months behind bars.
Raquel Eleana Spencer, who previously taught English at
Northwest Whitfield High School in Tunnel Hill, was sentenced
Friday to spend between 90 and 120 days at a minimum-security
detention center that also provides life skills classes and
substance abuse counseling, the Dalton Daily Citizen reports.
Spencer, 29, must also serve the rest of a 10-year sentence on
probation, perform 300 hours of community service and pay a
$1,000 fine after pleading guilty to sexual assault by a person
with supervisory and disciplinary authority.
Spencer, who resigned after being arrested at the school last
April, was also found in possession of heroin after staffers
suspected that she was under the influence while at school.
Those charges were dropped, however, as part of a plea
agreement, according to the newspaper.
A grand jury indicted Spencer last year after sheriff’s
officials in Whitfield County accused her of having sex with a
student at the school between October 2017 and April 2018.
Investigators uncovered the illicit encounters during a search
of Spencer’s phone after heroin was found in her possession, the
Daily Citizen reports.
At the time, three administrators reported Spencer acting oddly
during school hours, rapidly changing subjects during
conversations and having difficulty staying on one topic. That
prompted an assistant principal to ask a school resource officer
whether Spencer had been using drugs, the Chattanooga Times Free
The district’s superintendent, Judy Gilreath, declined to
indicate whether she thought Spencer’s sentence was appropriate.
“But I do hope that she gets the treatment and help she needs,”
Gilreath told the Daily Citizen.
Spencer, who also coached cheerleading and girls’ track and
field at the school, had worked in the district since January
2013 prior to her resignation.