Former Hixson High teacher arrested, charged with aggravated statutory rape

Bethany White / Hamilton County Sheriff's Office contributed photo

Bethany White, a former Hixson High School teacher who resigned earlier this month, has been arrested on a charge of aggravated statutory rape.

White, former director of sports medicine at Hixson High, was suspended without pay on March 27 by the Hamilton County Schools district.

The Chattanooga Police Department's Special Victims Unit, which is dedicated to working sex crimes and domestic violence cases, has been investigating White since her suspension.

photo Bethany White

White's case was presented to a grand jury on Monday before she was indicted.

Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokesman Matt Lea confirmed Friday afternoon that White had been booked at the Hamilton County Jail. According to court clerks, she bonded out later in the day.

White is no longer an employee of Hamilton County Schools, according to district records.

In an email dated July 1, White wrote that she had "made the decision to leave my position at Hixson."

She said the last 10 years had "fulfilled a dream" and she was proud of the accomplishments and students she has impacted.

White had worked with Hamilton County Schools since 2009. She taught sports medicine and exercise science classes and was one of the faculty members of Hixson High's Future Ready Institute - the Institute of Health Careers and Medical Advancement.

In her email, she hinted that she knew district officials were going to suggest she resign.

"This may be the same outcome that you would have suggested or wanted, and therefore the purpose of the meeting," she wrote ahead of a planned meeting on July 2 with staff members from the district's human resources department. "Knowing your time is valuable, I wanted to go ahead and be transparent and use this email as my official resignation."

photo Bethany White

Internal documents show White's reason for termination as "resigned in lieu of discharge-mutual consent" and notes that she is not eligible to be rehired by the district.

The district had been conducting its own internal investigation while awaiting on the outcome of the law enforcement case.

The district's investigation was looking into allegations that White was guilty of unprofessional conduct. Under Tennessee Code 49-5-501, teachers can be fired for incompetence, inefficiency, neglect of duty, unprofessional conduct and insubordination.

Conduct considered "unbecoming of a teacher" includes immorality; conviction of a felony; "dishonesty, unreliability, continued willful failure or refusal to pay one's just and honest debts"; disregard of the Tennessee Education Association's code of ethics; or improper use of narcotics or intoxicants, according to the code.

Contact Meghan Mangrum at [email protected] or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.