ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. — A Rowan County middle school teacher faces an additional charge after he had an inappropriate relationship with a student, investigators said.
Mark Dexter, 42, now faces two charges of indecent liberties with a student. The second charge stems from the ongoing investigation and involves the same student.
Parents of a student complained that Dexter sent inappropriate messages through Facebook to their child, deputies said.
Investigators determined that it appeared the child and teacher were involved in an online relationship and the messages date back to Sept. 9.
Deputies said Dexter was making plans for the child to come to his home, and more than 1,000 messages were exchanged resulting in more than 400 pages of evidence.
Detectives said Dexter admitted to exchanging messages with the student, and some of the messages were sent from his personal cellphone while he was at school.
"You send your kids to school and you think they're safe and look, they're not," parent Elizabeth Padgett said.
Dexter is charged with taking indecent liberties with a student by a school guardian following his arrest in the 100 block of Brookstone Way in Granite Quarry on Wednesday.
"It definitely needs to stop,” nanny Savannah King said. “That's the problem with social media these days and young children. Sometimes they get into stuff they're not meaning to."
School officials said Dexter was hired at Morgan Elementary on July 27, 2004 and started at Erwin Middle School on Aug. 17, 2005. He taught math and social studies.
Dexter resigned on Wednesday.
Dexter was given an additional $75,000 bond for the second charge, which will be added to the original bond of $150,000.
Rowan-Salisbury Schools sent Channel 9 this statement:
"Erwin Principal Daniel Herring has met with his staff and is communicating thru various avenues with parents in the Erwin community.
In addition, Rowan-Salisbury Schools is supporting the Erwin students and staff with additional counselors for as long as needed.
While we can not address specific incidents, we are sad and heartbroken anytime we receive reports of inappropriate conduct towards any of our students.
We have policies and procedures in place to handle these situations immediately. We are also fortunate to have excellent relationships with law enforcement as we partner together to conduct investigations and to keep our students and schools safe.
We will continue moving forward in keeping safety a top priority in our schools."
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