A recent study ranked Pennsylvania as second in the nation for claims of sexual abuse and misconduct among teachers.
Texas ranked first and then Pennsylvania, with 24 claims this year of inappropriate teacher conduct and sex abuse.
“I’m very surprised because you would think that, you know, moving away from all the city and so far that there wouldn’t be so much corruption in schools,” said Miriam Buchhalter of Trucksville.
“Finding out that it’s in the schools is scary, yes, and unfortunately, things like this seem to be going downhill,” said Matthew Caruso of Wilkes-Barre.
Recent statistics show claims of abuse and misconduct against Pennsylvania teachers are among the highest in the nation.
In Luzerne County alone, prosecutors said there have been 3 cases so far this year.
Edward Evans, a teacher from Hanover Area, was found not guilty by a jury last week after he was accused of molesting a student.
Lauren Harrington-Cooper, a former teacher in the Wyoming Valley West School District, is facing trial on charges she had sex or inappropriate relationships with four students.
Coughlin High School administrator and coach Stephen Stahl is facing trial for allegedly having sex with a student.
“We’ve seen so much of it that it is sort of common-place now here in Luzerne County. It’s sad for the nation to be seeing such an increase and the state to be one of the highest,” said Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis.
Gary Buchhalter is a former teacher from New York City who moved to Luzerne County’s Back Mountain area.
He was shocked by the statistics.
In addition to those cases in Luzerne County, there are more cases in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania this year.
“With all the cities and larger areas in the country, populated areas, it’s a little surprising,” said Buchhalter.
Experts said social media is perhaps one reason for the rising number of cases against teachers in NEPA and across the country.
“Social media, it’s a dangerous one, for teachers. I tell them all the time, you need to be professional with these students. I know you want to be their friends, but you just can’t. You have to have that professional relationship,” said Salavantis.