The State Law Enforcement Division has arrested a 37-year-old North Augusta teacher who is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old female pupil.
Shannon Fowler, an eighth-grade math teacher at Paul Knox Middle School, is charged with five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, one count of enticing an enrolled child from attendance in school and one count of violating mandated test security regulations and procedures set forth by the state Board of Education.
Arrest affidavits said that Mrs. Fowler, of the 400 block of Pine Butte Lane in North Augusta, communicated with the student “all hours of the day and evening” and engaged the girl in “adult-themed conversations” that were inappropriate for a minor.
Jennifer Timmons, a spokeswoman for SLED, said “there is not enough evidence to determine if a sexual relationship existed at this time.”
According to the affidavits, on May 20 Mrs. Fowler bought the girl a prepaid Alltel cell phone without the knowledge or permission of the girl's parents.
The warrants also allege that Mrs. Fowler encouraged the pupil to create a false persona to hide their friendship. The teacher is also accused of giving the girl a ride home from school several times a week without permission from the pupil's parents, the arrest warrant said.
The investigation by SLED also found that the teacher discussed standardized test questions with the student, a violation of South Carolina law.
Agents began their investigation of Mrs. Fowler in June at the request of the North Augusta Department of Public Safety, according to SLED.
“The decision to call SLED was to eliminate any conflict that may arise as a result of this investigation due to Mrs. Fowler’s husband’s previous employment with the North Augusta Department of Public Safety,” Lt. Tim Pearson of public safety said in a statement.
Mrs. Fowler was freed from the Aiken County Detention Center today on a personal recognizance bond, according to a statement from the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.