CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. — A teacher, who taught students with special needs is accused of taking advantage of one of her students on multiple occasions, left the Cleveland County Courthouse Thursday with a jacket over her face.
The Cleveland County Sheriff's Office said Whitney Baker, 28, has been charged with three counts of indecent liberties with a student.
As she walked out of the courthouse for her first appearance hearing, her mother acted as a human shield to the media. Channel 9's Ken Lemon was the only reporter there with a camera.
According to deputies, one of the incidents happened at The Turning Point Academy where Baker worked as a special needs teacher.
The other two incidents reportedly happened on social media, where deputies said she sent inappropriate messages to the student.
Officials said the incidents took place over about a year and a half while Baker worked at the school.
The mother of the alleged victim was in the back row of the courtroom Thursday when Baker faced a judge.
The mother said investigators told her the teacher took pictures and video of herself while on campus and shared them with her son on social media.
After the hearing, Lemon asked Baker if she had anything to say about the case.
Baker and her mother ignored the questions, but the accuser's mother had something to say.
"Why are you covering your face?" the accuser's mother said to Baker. "You weren't covering it when you were sending the photos and videos."
Baker's mother said, "Neither was your boy," regarding an alleged exchange of photos and video.
The mother, who was not identified to protect the identity of her son, wants justice.
"I sent my child to school to get an education, not this," the mother told Lemon.
She said her 15-year-old son has a learning disability and often relied on Baker to get through the day. He was allowed to go to her classroom at any time to decompress.
"If he was having a stressful day at school, he could go to her class," his mother said.
According to deputies, the investigation is still active, and they plan to interview more students.
She said she wants to personally see what happens to the former teacher.
"She shouldn't be about to work with no kids anymore, at all, period," the mother said.
Channel 9 learned Baker was hired by Cleveland County Schools in August 2017, but no longer works for the district.
"I think it's disgusting, and I think she is disgusting," the mother said.
A national group that specializes in stopping sexual abuse by educators used Justice Department data and said one in 10 students will endure some kind of school employee sexual misconduct.
The majority of those are high school students and are usually about 15-years-old.
Data also indicated 75% use technology to communicate with victims.
She was given a $25,000 secured bond.
Cox Media Group