A student-led petition demanding the teacher who resigned after her nude picture was circulated should be reinstated at the school has gathered close to 6,000 signatures.
Leigh Anne Arthur, 33, told of how a 16-year-old boy stole her phone from her desk when she was out of the classroom. The phone contained a nude photo of the teacher, and the student ciruclated the image, copying and sharing it and posting one copy in the teacher's locker.
Ms Arthur was given the choice of resigning or facing “due process procedures” at the South Carolina school. She chose the former.
She had taken the picture for her husband for Valentine’s Day, as reported by the New York Times.
Now a petition called “Bring Back Mrs Arthur” has gained more than 5,700 signatures.
The petition reads: “Leigh Anne Arthur is the victim of a blatant attack of her privacy. Personal photographs were illegally obtained by a student and were sent to other students in the school (Union County High). After being escorted off of school property, we (the students) are left to believe that she has been forced to, or given little choice but to resign.
“Mrs Arthur has not only shown tremendous dedication to her students, but also the mechatronics program itself, often reaching out to local businesses and colleges to get materials that would not normally be available for the class.“
The Union County Schools superintendent, David Eubanks, said Ms Arthur shared responsibility for the incident as she had let students use her phone in the past.
“It became a regular piece of equipment that they used in that classroom,” Dr Eubanks said. “Knowing that, why did she put that photograph on that cellphone?”
Ms Arthur told CBS News: “The whole premise of my privacy is being ignored.” She claimed she had been forced to resign.
The petition reported that the student who stole the teacher’s phone has not received any punishment.
In a statement obtained by the New York Times, Dr Eubanks said the student “may also be severely punished by law enforcement, as well as the school district.”
Ms. Arthur said she knew who the student is but had forgiven him, according to NBC.
“He’s 16. He’s going to make stupid decisions. We all make stupid decisions when we’re 16,” she said.