A former agricultural education teacher at Oconee County High School has pleaded guilty to one count of cruelty to children in the second degree.
Scott Brian Rushing, 24, of Watkinsville, negotiated a deal with the District Attorney's Office and appeared in Oconee County Superior Court on Monday, Chief Deputy Lee Weems of the Sheriff's Office said.
While serving as a student teacher, Rushing had had a relationship with a girl he later learned was a 15-years-old student, Weems said.
Rushing was a student teacher from February to April of 2009, according to Brook Whitmire, assistant superintendent for Human Resources for the school system.
Superintendent John Jackson said school officials did not learn about the relationship until about a year later when Rushing was employed as an agricultural education teacher.
Jackson described the situation as very unfortunate.
"When parents send their children to school, they should not worry about their safety. There are no excuses," he said. "But when confronted, Mr. Rushing owned up to it, admitted it, and was remorseful and resigned."
Rushing was employed as a teacher from July 30, 2009, until his resignation on November 30, 2010, according to Whitmire.
Jackson said the school system notified the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the state agency that oversees the certification and licensure of public school educators.
Superior Court Judge Patrick Haggard sentenced Rushing as a first offender to 10 years probation. He was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $700 restitution to the victim. Rushing also had to surrender his teaching license, according to the deputy clerk of court. Jail records show he was booked and released Monday following the sentencing.