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Pinellas teacher-student nude photos case continues

There is no indication the Pinellas middle school teacher accused of trading nude photos with a 14-year-old boy had improper relationships with other children, authorities said Monday.

But St. Petersburg police and Pinellas County school officials continue to investigate Christy Lynn Martin, 32, who taught at Azalea Middle School in St. Petersburg.

Martin, who earned $37,300, taught five computer classes and one "life choices" course, which involved teaching students about positive relationships, self-esteem building and conflict resolution, said Pinellas spokeswoman Andrea Zahn.

Martin was placed on administrative leave with pay Monday.

The eighth-grade student, who is not being identified, was not in one of Martin's classes this year, said Valerie Brimm, an administrator in the district's Office of Professional Standards. But it's also unclear if he was a student in one of her classes last year.

Police were still trying to determine how they met, said St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

Police said Martin admitted she used a cell phone to send photos of herself to the eighth-grader on Feb. 28 and March 1. The next day, the teen sent an image of himself to Martin, according to the arrest affidavit.

The teacher was charged Saturday with transmitting pornographic images through an electronic device and transmitting material harmful to a minor. Martin, who was released on $20,000 bail, did not return calls or e-mails Monday. Records show she has no criminal history in Florida.

Azalea Middle School principal Teresa Anderson notified parents about Martin Monday in a mass voice mail: "The safety and security of our students is of utmost importance. Please take this opportunity to discuss with your child inappropriate behaviors and encourage him or her to talk to you, or an adult at school, about anything that may be inappropriate or questionable."

The case again raised concerns about whether school districts are doing enough to keep teachers from crossing the line with students — and whether students also are getting the message.

Ron Matus can be reached at matus@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8873.

Pinellas teacher-student nude photos case continues 03/09/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 9, 2009 10:22pm]
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