A Columbia Middle School teacher has been charged with failure to report suspected child abuse after a string of SnapChat messages unveiled a very personal relationship between the teacher and one of his students.
According to the Associated Press, the child’s mother contacted sheriff’s deputies last week once she discovered her 14-year-old daughter sent her teacher, 34-year-old Jon Mark Thornhill Jr., a series of messages on SnapChat that included accusations that her father sexually assaulted her in the past.
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA 1996) made it mandatory for all teachers to report any suspicions of child abuse or neglect. In other words, Thornhill has broken the law by keeping the sexual abuse allegations under wraps. Needless to say, that’s also not the only murky area in this case.
Another part of the conversation revealed that the student’s relationship with Thornhill, who was the student’s physical education teacher, was far more personal than most parents would feel comfortable with. The incident report claimed that the student also sent her teacher a message saying that she missed him and his hugs.
Thornhill has been taken into custody but there is still the uncomfortable reality of some unanswered questions lingering in the air.
While the communication between the student and teacher is alarming, the accusation is also just as troubling. It isn’t clear if an investigation has been launched into the accusation or if the student’s parents have been questioned.