UPDATE: Burke County teacher accused of sexual texts, photos to student

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Debra Tanksley (WRDW-TV)

BURKE COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- A former Burke County Teacher of the Year is accused of exchanging sexually charged photos and texts with a student at Burke County High School, the Sheriff's Office said.

The Burke County Sheriff's Office is looking through thousands of pages of messages between a teacher and students at Burke County High School, Dedric Smith, chief investigator at the Burke County Sheriff's Office, said.

Debra Tanksley, 37, is accused of texting sexual messages and photos to an underage student, the Sheriff's Office said. Tanksley sent messages and photos that were not nude, but sexually explicit in nature to one student in particular, Smith said.

She will face criminal attempt sexual assault and electronically furnishing obscene material to minors charges, the Sheriff's Office said.

This is the second teacher-student allegation to come out of Burke County in one week. The first involved a Burke County High School teacher Ashley Ashe.

Investigators started questioning Tanksley's relationships with students after looking into Ashe's past with another student, Smith said.

"These findings arose during an ongoing investigation last week that led to the arrest of another BCHS teacher," the Burke County School System said in a news release.

Tanksley was Teacher of the Year for 2012-2013, the school system confirmed. The Burke County School System said Tanksley is placed on administrative leave.

In some text messages, the Sheriff's Office said they also found out about alleged grade fixing.

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