2nd Burke Co. teacher accused of inappropriate relationship with student

2nd Burke Co. teacher accused of inappropriate relationship with student

BURKE COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - A Burke County High School teacher accused of sending sexual text messages to a student is behind bars, according to the Burke County Sheriff's Office.

Debra Renae Tanksley is charged with criminal attempt sexual assault and electronically furnishing obscene material to minors, Sgt. Dedric Smith said. She turned herself in at the Burke County Jail Wednesday.

District officials said Tanksley has been placed on administrative leave.

"Us as parents, we send our kids to school to learn, and I thought that's what I thought the teachers were there for," Willie Mae Green, a parent of three children in the Burke County School System said. "Not to have sex with them. That's disgusting."

This is the second teacher in a week accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student. Ashley Nicole Ashe, 25, was arrested last week and charged with one count of aggravated child molestation.

"I thought this was going to be a great school for my girls, but its giving me second thoughts," Green said.

Green said she's uncomfortable with sending her kids to school.

"I send them to school to learn, not for some teacher to take advantage of them. Yes, I'm angry," she said.

Investigator Dedric Smith says rumors sparked after 25-year-old Ashley Ashe lead them to question 37-year-old Debra Tanksley.  

"We interviewed her, and that's when we discovered that she was in fact engaged in a text message type situation at the high school," said Smith.

Smith said inappropriate texting wasn't the only thing Tanksley was doing wrong.

"She was also fixing grades for this particular student. She was changing his grades to get him up to passing level," Smith said.

Green said something has to be done.

"I'm going to talk to the principal. I'm going to address the issue with the principal to see what they're going to do, because its wrong."

Allegations against Tanksley, who is friends with Ashe, surfaced last week when deputies were investigating Ashe's relationship with a student, Smith said.

The Burke County Sheriff's Office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are investigating.

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