Elizabeth Scroggs seemed like the ideal teacher.
She was a three-time nominee for the coveted STAR teacher award presented each year by the Kiwanis Club of Dalton, nominated by her students for helping them succeed in school, and she assisted numerous students as an assistant cheerleading coach and former girls cross country coach at Coahulla Creek High School.
That all changed Wednesday. Now she faces prison.
Scroggs, 32, of Ringgold, was charged by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office with felony sexual assault by a person with supervisory or disciplinary authority for having a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old male student, officials said. Capt. Rick Swiney with the sheriff’s office said she was picked up at the school Wednesday morning. She is being held at the county jail without bond.
Swiney said under the law a person who has supervisory or disciplinary powers over another cannot have a sexual relationship with that person, such as a police officer with an inmate or a probation officer with an offender. And under state law, consent is not a defense.
Eric Beavers, a spokesman with Whitfield County Schools, said the central office received an anonymous call Tuesday about the relationship and called in the sheriff’s office to investigate.
Swiney said the relationship began in December. None of the acts between the two happened on school property. The student, who is still in school, was a willing participant in the relationship, Swiney said.
Beavers said Scroggs is not currently on any kind of leave. He said what happens next with her in the school system will be determined by the board of education.
School board member Tony Stanley said at this point board members have to wait until the sheriff’s office finishes its investigation and then they will take appropriate action. He added that Scroggs will not be allowed around students if she is released from custody.
Scroggs was a three-time STAR teacher nominee between 2012-2014. The Kiwanis Club of Dalton honors local students and teachers as part of the Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program. STAR students are selected from the high school seniors with the highest score on a single test date on the three-part SAT who are also in the top 10 percent or top 10 students of their class based on grade point average. Those students then select their top — or STAR — teacher.
Scroggs has been with the school system since 2006, teaching at New Hope Middle School and the career academy before becoming the language arts teacher at Coahulla Creek in 2011.
She won the female division of the Dalton Red Carpet Half Marathon in 2011.