Tobyhanna Township, Monroe County - Two school years in a row the Pocono Mountain School District has had to investigate cases of a teacher having sexual contact with a student and parents want to know what's being done to protect their kids.
On Tuesday night police arrested Pocono Mountain West teacher Christopher Martinelli for allegedly having sexual contact with a student. That came just one year after a Pocono Mountain East Teacher had sexual contact with a student.
Jessica Lepri remembers the commotion at school when students learned a math teacher had sexual contact with a male student. She said, "Word got around fast and everyone was kind of talking about it."
The teacher was not criminally charged in the case. The student was 18 and at that time it was not a crime for a teacher to be physical with a student who was a legal adult.
It was different for Martinelli. Police say he had repeated sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy. Princess Blanco of Effort went to Pocono Mountain West. She reacted, "You should know your boundaries and as an adult you should be able to follow the law."
According to a Search Warrant in the case, Martinelli kept close contact with the teen through Facebook, email, and text messages. Investigators say some of the communication was sexual. Blanco said, "I think they need to have a higher enforced policy between the students and the teachers."
Former Pocono Mountain Students told Eyewitness News they don't remember a policy banning that type of connection. School Spokesperson Wendy Frable said she would check if there is such a policy and let Eyewitness News know on Friday.
Lepri said it shouldn't matter. She added, "It was never told to us that it's not allowed. That's something that you know."
Many agree, teachers shouldn't need a formal policy stating what an appropriate relationship is. Paula Macey of Little Meadows believes lack of personal responsibility is becoming a nationwide problem. She said, "Parents and adults not wanting to act like parents and adults and teachers not wanting to act like adults."
Frable wrote a statement outlining the current rules. It follows:
"Pocono Mountain School District has several policies that outline the appropriate behavior for teachers and their professional responsibilities toward students. Those policies are:
400 Code of Ethical Conduct
440 Responsibility of Staff for Student Welfare
448 Sexual Harassment
The District also provides professional development training to staff on such topics as sexual harassment, crisis prevention/intervention and mandatory reporting procedures for suspected child abuse of any kind.
We require and maintain a record of background checks for all staff. These include Act 34/Criminal Record; Act 151/Child Abuse Clearance; Act 114/FBI Criminal History Record and Act 24/Arrest -Conviction Report.
We will be reviewing our policies, procedures and staff training needs. However, right now our focus is on actively assisting the police in the investigation and on providing assistance and support to any District parents or families in need."