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A Texas teacher was sentenced on Wednesday to three years of probation after pleading guilty to giving a teen a lap dance during class.
Felicia A. Smith, a 42-year-old former Aldine ISD middle school teacher, admitted to giving her 15-year-old student an inappropriate birthday "performance," which included her dancing on and around him while he was seated in a chair. The Houston Chronicle reports that the Spring, Texas, woman was accused of getting on her knees near the end of the lap dance and putting her head between the student's legs.
What was going on in this "hot for student" case?
Improper Relationship With a Student
Smith was sentenced to three years of probation after pleading guilty to an improper relationship with a student. You may think that that's stating the obvious, but in Texas, that's actually the title of the offense under which she was convicted. In the Lone Star State, educators in elementary, middle, or high school can be prosecuted as felons for having sex or soliciting sex from a student -- even if that student is not a minor. For example, a teacher who has sex with his or her 17-year-old high school student would still be liable for a second degree felony unless he or she is married to that student.
In this case, Smith was not accused of having sex with her teen student, but rather was accused of engaging in "sexual contact." A statement of probable cause obtained by The Smoking Gun details allegations that Smith gave her student a "full contact lap dance" during which her buttocks made contact with his penis.
Apparently, Smith told authorities that "the class convinced her to do it." And after all, it was the student's birthday.
Probation and Career Consequences
Although many students may have found Smith's dancing (which lasted around four minutes) skillful, her employer was less than pleased. Shortly after Smith was charged, the Aldine ISD released a statement confirming the teacher was "removed from campus" during the investigation and has not returned, reports Houston's KHOU-TV.
While the conditions of Smith's probation aren't likely to forbid her from seeking a teaching job, with her felony conviction, it may be a bit difficult. Texas is notoriously hawkish about refusing to hire felons, especially as law enforcement or teachers. That's also assuming that Smith doesn't have her teaching license revoked.
But she may be able to pivot (and grind) into an exotic dance career.