Court docs: Former IPS counselor was sexually involved with two students

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 1, 2016) – A former Indianapolis Public Schools counselor faces several charges, and according to court documents, she was sexually involved with two students, ages 16 and 17.

Shana Taylor, 37, was arrested Thursday, and she’s being held in the Marion County Jail on a $100,000 bond. She made her first court appearance on Monday.

She has been charged with nine counts of child seduction, one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count of dissemination of matter harmful to minors.

According to court documents, Longfellow Alternative School Principal William Jensen first learned about an inappropriate sexual relationship between Taylor and a student on February 17 from the victim’s mother. The victim’s mother told Jensen she discovered numerous text and Facebook messages between her son and Taylor. The victim’s mother showed Jensen the messages and several sexually explicit images Taylor sent her son.

Jensen forwarded all of the messages to a case worker from human resources for IPS. Taylor had a meeting with the case worker and was placed on administrative leave.

According to court documents, no one called the Department of Child Services to report the incident until February 23.

At that time, the victim gave a recorded statement at the IMPD Sex Crimes Office. According to court documents, in that statement, the victim said his relationship with Taylor started in October 2015 and lasted until the second week of February.

During those four months, the victim told police the two made sexual contact at least 20 different times. The acts were performed in a variety of places, including Taylor’s office at Longfellow High School while school was in session.

The victim told police he knew of two other students with whom Taylor was having sexual relations on school property as well.

At that time, police executed several search warrants and seized Taylor’s electronic devices.

Police spoke with another Longfellow student who was believed to be having a sexual relationship with Taylor. The victim told police that he engaged in sexual relations with Taylor sometime between October 2015 and December 2015.

Prosecutors have until Wednesday to finalize criminal charges, and Taylor has another hearing tomorrow.

Indianapolis Public School released this statement:

“As the investigation continues into these disturbing allegations, IPS is collaborating with the Department of Child Services and IMPD to determine facts, and will respond as quickly and punitively as allowed by law.

Parents should know that the employee was immediately suspended once the district was initially notified of the allegations. The employee is being recommended for termination.

IPS was informed of alleged inappropriate contact between the employee and a student on the evening of Wednesday, February 17. The district subsequently directed the employee to report to IPS Human Resource Services (HRS) on the morning of Thursday, February 18. The employee was placed on suspension, including being banned from any IPS school property.

The welfare of students was immediately safeguarded prior to HRS speaking with the employee. An investigation has been launched regarding the reporting process related to this matter, once relevant facts had been confirmed, to determine whether information was reported to external authorities in the timeliest manner.

IPS Board Policy 3213.01 and related administrative guidelines, in conjunction with state law, outline specific actions for employees to report incidents of this nature:

“All school personnel, including a school counselor or school social worker who acquired the relevant facts in a privileged communication, have a duty to report to Child Protection Service ("CPS").” The administrative guideline further states that “School personnel are to report allegations to the IPS Student Services Department and to the Division of Child Protective Services.”

In this matter, school staff immediately notified the IPS Student Services Department – which directly supervises the program. Student Services immediately contacted IPS Human Resource Services (HRS) to launch an investigation into the allegations.

In light of these events, the district has reminded school leaders to refer to Board policy and administrative guidelines, found in the 2014 edition of the Guide to Emergency Procedures, which is housed in each school.

In the coming weeks, IPS will collaborate with community partners to conduct refresher training sessions for school personnel to ensure districtwide expectations are understood and adhered to, without exception or delay.

The Board and administration take this matter very seriously. These allegations are indeed unsettling, yet we believe this matter does not reflect the integrity of our talented educators. While we worked to immediately protect our students, this issue provides an opportunity for us to remind employees of protocols and expectations.

We know it is an honor that our parents entrust their children to us; and we want them to know that we will do everything within our means to ensure the safety of our students.”

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