Durham Public Schools officials confirmed Friday, March 2, that DPS and the Durham County Sheriff’s Office are investigating an alleged incident at the Southern School of Energy and Sustainability in which a female student and male student are believed to have been recorded on video engaging in consensual sex in the school’s weight room.
Because the matter is under investigation, DPS spokesman Chip Sudderth said he could not provide many details.
Sudderth did, however, confirm that DPS is investigating whether the recording of the two students was shared with other students, as has been rumored, and whether it was made without the female student’s consent.
Anyone who downloads or shares such a video could face federal charges under U.S. law that “prohibits the production, distribution, reception, and possession of an image of child pornography using or affecting any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce.”
If the students in the alleged recording are underage, students sharing or downloading the video could face charges if they engage in downloading or sharing the recording.
In another matter, Sudderth confirmed that DPS is investigating alleged inappropriate interactions between a “non-licensed employee” at the Southern School of Energy and Sustainability and a student. Also known as classified employees, a non-licensed employee includes teacher assistants, bus drivers and cafeteria workers and other employees whose job does not require them to hold a license.
Sudderth said the investigation over the non-licensed employee has not been turned over to law enforcement officials and remains at the district level.
“That employee has not reported to work since the investigation began,” Sudderth said. “State and federal laws protecting the privacy of students and state employees prevent us from further comment at this time.”