A biology teacher and girls track coach at R.L. Turner High School in Texas was arrested for allegedly recording students undressing during the 2015-2016 school year.
George Edwin Thomas III, a Carrollton, Texas high school teacher, was charged with six counts of invasive visual recording, a state jail felony.
Local police say the teacher placed hidden cameras to record footage of female students changing into their uniforms on campus during the last school year.
Information in the arrest affidavit notes that Thomas’ girlfriend discovered the recordings on a thumb drive she found in their apartment. She had suspected Thomas of cheating on her, so when she and a friend discovered the thumb drive, they watched it and found the graphic content.
Thomas kept dozens of pornographic photos and documents labeled ‘Coach Thomas’ on that drive, but it was the videos showing students undressing that lead to his arrest.
The warrant said that the thumb drive “contained multiple video recordings of teenage girls disrobing in a closet” and that the drive had “recordings that appeared to be at a teacher’s desk with female students being called to the desk.”
That footage was reportedly taken from a camera that was positioned to record underneath female students’ clothing.
When Carrollton police detectives voluntarily questioned Thomas, according to the report, he “admitted that he recorded videos on his phone in class but the recordings were of activities for the students to watch and learn.”
Police didn’t believe his weak explanation, arresting him for invasive visual recording.
Police have identified six students who Thomas recorded while on campus. A police spokeswoman said there are other students in the videos that have yet to be identified, which means additional charges are possible.
Thomas has been placed on paid administrative leave from the school district following these allegations, pending the outcome of the investigation.
Parents interviewed by Fox 4 News were rightfully disturbed by the news of Thomas’ arrest, with parent David Stallings reacting to the news, saying, “That’s definitely out of bounds, that’s for sure.” He added, “That’s a dreadful thought, you know, for anyone that has a daughter…especially a daughter.”
Stallings noted, “Removing him from the school is the number one priority. I’m sure they’ll get to the bottom of it and take care of it accordingly and I’m sure he’ll be dismissed.”
In another report from Fox 4 News, students say they aren’t surprised that Thomas is accused of secretly videotaping students undressing. Jafet, a junior at the school, said, “Whenever we were in the locker room whenever we had football…it just seemed kind of weird the way how he always kept looking at his phone a lot, too. I was the only one who kind of noticed it, I don’t think anybody else did, though.”
Another student, sophomore Betty Rango, noted, “He was just…very close with the girls.” She added, “When I heard about it, I was very uncomfortable knowing that someone like that was in my school.”
Sophomore Laura Flores commented, “That is abusing his power to be a teacher.”