HIGHLANDS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Sebring teacher faces ten counts of sexual battery related to allegations she repeatedly engaged in sexual activity with a 15-year-old student.
Ariel Reed, 30, taught critical thinking at Sebring High School since 2019. She was first hired by the Highlands County School Board in 2014. according to the deputy superintendent.
“If we find out that there’s a teacher inappropriately involved with a student, they’re going to go to jail,” said Scott Dressel, public information officer with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office. “A 30-year old woman can’t have a relationship with a 15-year old, at least not that kind of relationship.”
According to her arrest affidavit, the victim told detectives the sexual encounters began during Christmas break after Reed had begun driving the victim to and from school.
“Ariel continued to tell me she would often drive him home and even for a period of a month the victim lived at her house,” the affidavit read.
The victim described the sexual encounters in detail and said they occurred at Reed’s home, in her vehicle and in the closet in her classroom after the victim’s father found out and he was no longer allowed to see her outside of school.
“That seems like the last place you’d want to do something like this – would be in the classroom but I guess your thinking isn’t really on that straight if you’re involved in that kind of relationship in the first place,” said Dressel.
According to the affidavit, Reed told the victim not to say anything about their relationship because “they would take her kids” away from her.
It came to an end when a student reported seeing nude pictures of Reed on the boy’s phone.
“Somebody saw something, they said something and we were able to make an arrest and stop this from happening anymore,” said Dressel.
The school board placed Reed on administrative leave on Feb. 10 when the investigation began.
Prior to working at the high school, Reed worked at Avon Park Middle School, in the Curriculum Department, the Human Resource Department and as a front desk clerk at Woodlawn Elementary.
“We were deeply shocked and troubled by the allegations against Ariel Reed,” Deputy Superintendent Andrew Lethbridge wrote in a statement.
Reed’s husband, 37-year-old Jonathan Patrick Reed, was also arrested Friday for interference with the execution of a search warrant.
“He slammed the door on their face when they were trying to come in. And then he was just very uncooperative throughout the entire thing. That was just the start of it,” Dressel said.
Jonathan Reed is out on bond. Ariel Reed remains in jail as of Monday afternoon.