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Elizabeth Scroggs

Elizabeth Scroggs, a 32-year-old language arts teacher at Coahulla Creek High School, was arrested at school Wednesday morning on charges of having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old male student whom she taught.

An anonymous phone call to the Whitfield County Schools system on Tuesday led to an investigation and Scroggs' arrest, said Capt. Rick Swiney of the Whitfield County Sheriff's Office.

"We have a strong case against her," he said of the relationship.

The sex was consensual, he said, and began in December.

"None of it was on school property," Swiney said.

Places the two met for sex include the student's home, he said, and "we've confirmed one incident at a motel."

The age of consent is 16 in Georgia -- except when an authority figure such as a teacher or police officer is involved.

Scroggs, a Ringgold, Ga., resident, was charged with "sexual assault by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority," a felony that carries a minimum penalty of one year in prison and a maximum of 20 years, Swiney said.

Scroggs was being held Wednesday at the Whitfield County Jail without bond.

School system spokesman Eric Beavers said Scroggs was hired in August 2006 as a language arts teacher at New Hope Middle School, then taught in the 2010-2011 school year at the district's career academy before starting at Coahulla Creek High in the 2011-12 school year.

The school system contacted the sheriff's office Tuesday, Beavers said, and sought its help investigating the tip.

The county school board will decide whether or not Scroggs keeps her job.

"The board has to take that action," Beavers said.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or www.facebook.com/tim.omarzu or twitter.com/TimOmarzu or 423-757-6651.

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