'I believe students still have that trust in us'
The mother of the 14-year-old who reportedly exchanged nude photos with a 32-year-old Pinellas middle school teacher is distraught but does not blame the school, said the school's principal, who talked with the mother Monday.
"She's distraught as any mother would be," Azalea Middle School principal Teresa Anderson told the Gradebook. "She just said she did not blame the school. … She just thought that sometimes people need help, and obviously this is a person who needs help, is basically what she said."
Anderson said her school was doing its best to deal with the situation involving Christy Lynn Martin, who was hired last year to teach computer and life choices classes. Police said Martin, arrested Saturday, admitted she used a cell phone to send photos of herself to the eighth-grader on Feb. 28 and March 1. The student is not being identified.
Martin had bonded with many teachers and was well-liked by students, Anderson said. "I believe students still have that trust in us," she said. "We'll just have to work harder to regain that which may have been lost."
Martin graduated from Lakewood High School in 1994 and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Bethune-Cookman College in 2000, according to a job application in her personnel file.
According to her resume, Martin held six jobs in five cities in the eight years before she became a teacher. They included stints at three separate banks between 2000 and 2003. She then work as an admissions counselor at three different colleges: Bethune Cookman in Daytona Beach, Capitol College in Laurel, Md., and Florida Technical College in Deland. Her job application also lists two stints as a "stay-at-home mom."
Anderson said she did not know how many others applied for the full-time teaching slot awarded to Martin last August. But she said Martin proved she was reliable, dependable and good with kids when she worked as a teaching assistant and substitute at the school.
Ron Matus, State Education Reporter