Investigators in Northumberland County said Friday a substitute teacher was exchanging text messages, thousands of them, with teenage students in the Shamokin area and some of the messages were allegedly inappropriate.
Phone records show more than 4,000 text messages between Michael Zack and four of his former students. Police said the conversations started with friend requests on Facebook and messages were even sent during school hours.
He was supposed to be teaching students at Shamokin Area High School, but Coal Township police said Zack took his lessons outside of the classroom. He was arrested for allegedly sending numerous inappropriate text and picture messages to four of his teenage students.
“He has a good job like that. Why would you take that kind of a chance and do something so terrible like that with underage children? It’s just terrible,” said Nancy Snyder of Coal Township. She has three teenagers. They all go to Shamokin Area High School. She and other parents said they are disturbed to hear about the arrest. “It’s terrible. I think it’s awful. My daughter is 13. If that happened to her I wouldn’t be too happy about it.”
“I think there should be more discipline. I think more teachers knew about this and should’ve opened up,” said Lisa Krieger.
Police said Zack sent graphic sexual text messages and photos of himself to some of his female students from March to October of last year. One of the girls was 15 at the time.
Some former students from Shamokin said that surprises them.
“It’s nuts because it never happened when we were in school. I think it’s crazy,” said Stephany Zimmerman of Shamokin.
“It’s kind of really disturbing. I don’t think people should be doing that. It’s wrong, for one, seeing as it’s a teacher doing it,” said Christina Roden of Shamokin.
Something else that concerns parents is the fact that Michael Zack is related to Shamokin Area School District’s superintendent.
“I think it’s sad for the school to have that kind of reputation and i think it should have been taken care of before,” Krieger added.
Michael Zack was arrested on Thursday but he was released on bail. He is scheduled to appear in court next week.
Newswatch 16 reached out to officials at Shamokin Area School District, but our calls were not returned.