Williams Elementary School teacher, Heather Whitten resigned Monday, following charges of rape and arrest Friday evening.
Whitten’s attorney, Erskine Funderburg, released an official statement saying, “On Monday Mrs. Whitten resigned her teaching position with the Pell City Board Education due to the unwarranted negative attention these charges were bringing to her co-workers and her students.”
District Attorney Richard Minor said he could not comment on the case.
Authorities at the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department said they received a report Friday afternoon, and Whitten was taken into custody at 6 p.m., charged with second-degree rape of a juvenile. After the arrest Whitten was released from prison on a $5000 bond.
Pell City Board of Education Assistant Superintendent Michael Barber says Whitten’s resignation is effective as of Friday, the day of her arrest and says the administration has taken the appropriate actions.
“We have a certified teacher in place, taking care of her student assignments,” Barber said. “Our number one priority is the welfare and interest of our students and staff.” Barber says the administration works to build trust with teachers, parents and students.
“None of the allegations against her have any connection to a school or the school system and it is very unfortunate that so many people have jumped to the conclusion that the school system was somehow involved,” Funderburg said. “Mrs. Whitten was a dedicated teacher and regrets that these charges have impacted her co-workers and her students, and her resignation is best for all involved at the present time.”
Whitten, 38 and a resident of Pell City taught reading and language arts to fifth-graders at Williams Elementary. Before teaching at Williams Elementary, Whitten taught fourth grade at Eden Elementary for three years.