South Carolina

Board: Beaufort Co. teacher poses a 'threat to the health, safety and welfare of students'

2 Beaufort County employees arrested after incident involving students, police say

Two Beaufort County School District employees — a teacher and a media assistant — were arrested Monday after an incident that happened at a Lady's Island residence last week, police say. Here's what they were charged with.
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Two Beaufort County School District employees — a teacher and a media assistant — were arrested Monday after an incident that happened at a Lady's Island residence last week, police say. Here's what they were charged with.

The S.C. Department of Education suspended the teaching certificate of a Battery Creek High School teacher accused of having sex with two students during a party she held over spring break at her house, according to a disciplinary action report filed by the agency.

On April 16, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office charged Brittney Whetzel, 28, of Lady's Island, with two felony counts of sexual battery and three misdemeanor counts of transfer of beer or wine for an underage person’s consumption.

Both students were 18 or older, but under South Carolina law, it is illegal for teachers to have sexual contact with their students, even if the students are above the age of consent.

The investigation is still active, Sheriff's Office spokesman Capt. Bob Bromage said Thursday afternoon.

Beaufort County court records show the case is pending.

A call Friday morning to Whetzel's attorney, Justin Maines, was not returned as of Friday afternoon.

Whetzel's educator certificate was summarily suspended April 24, meaning the agency suspended the certificate based on the allegations but before a hearing has been held.

"Due to the serious nature of this allegation to misconduct, Ms. Whetzel may pose a threat to the health, safety and welfare of students who may be under her instruction, and that emergency action is required," the state education department's order said.

Whetzel joined the district in the 2016-17 school year. District officials placed her on paid administrative leave April 12, and she resigned April 23, district spokesman Jim Foster wrote in an email.

She taught English at Battery Creek, according to her page on the school's website, which has since been removed.

Another Battery Creek High employee, media assistant Akina Andrews, 23, of Laurel Bay, was charged with providing alcohol to minors at the same party.

Andrews began working for the district in August. She was put on paid administrative leave April 11, and her employment with the district ended April 27, Foster wrote. She did not resign.

Neither Whetzel nor Andrews are included in a district personnel report listing terminations, resignations or retirement for the month of April. Both will be included in the May report, Foster wrote.

Kelly Meyerhofer: 843-706-8136, @KellyMeyerhofer
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