A Florida high school chorus director is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student in 2018.
On Monday, First Coast High School chorus director Christine Dennard, 32, pleaded not guilty to five counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor between the ages of 16 and 17, WJXT, Action News Jax and First Coast News report.
The Jacksonville County Sheriff’s Office began its investigation into Dennard on Nov. 21. The alleged victim told investigators she and Dennard, her teacher, were in “involved in an intimate relationship” for six months from April to October 2018, according to an arrest report. The student allegedly told investigators she and Dennard had sex both on and off the high school’s campus.
Three days later, Dennard was arrested.
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Dennard has been with the Duval County School District since August 2015.
“We have nearly 7,000 teachers in this district that go above and beyond the call of duty to help students achieve. It is deeply disappointing when any individual’s actions cast a shadow over the outstanding work of so many,” Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene said in a statement, according to WJXT. “However, we will always fully cooperate with law enforcement and other agencies to ensure that adults alleged to harm children are brought to justice.”
Dennard initially bonded out following her arrest but on Friday was taken into custody a second time after failing to appear in court Thursday. On Monday, her new bond was set at $150,000, according to WJXT.
Since her arrest, a substitute teacher has covered Dennard’s classes.
Dennard is also currently being investigated by Duval County Public Schools’s Office of Professional Standards.
Her attorney and a spokesperson with the school district could not be reached for comment Monday.