RANDOLPH COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - The Randolph County school system is asking if the 15-year-old student police said was victimized by a teacher is the only one.
“This is a really good teaching moment for our children,” said Tri-County Children’s Advocacy Center’s Executive Director Jacqueline Burgess. “We hate that it has happened, but we want to use it to move to a much better place.”
David Burkhalter, 30, was a Randolph County High School teacher who is now in jail on eight felony counts of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student.
He is also facing two more felony charges in Clay County and could face more in other counties.
“The Children’s Advocacy Center, we see a lot of cases in our three areas involving physical and sexual abuse of children. But a situation like this, within a school system? It’s definitely rare in this area,” said Burgess.
Burgess works with kids in Chambers, Tallapoosa, and Randolph counties.
She just spoke with Randolph County High School students Thursday about their teacher’s recent arrest.
“The message in the Randolph County Schools is-- this thing has happened, and what can you do now to move forward, and what can you do if you know something, or if there’s something else happening that you’re uncomfortable with? What can we do as a community now? What do these children need to do now with this information that they may have?” said Burgess.
Burkhalter was a first-year math teacher and junior high football and boys basketball coach.
He’s now been placed on administrative leave pending the court case.
Until then, Burgess wants parents to talk to your kids, and make sure they know it’s safe to come forward.
“If we don’t talk about these things with our kids, if we act like they’re not happening, then it’s more likely that they’re going to keep it a secret because they’re ashamed of it and feel like mom and dad won’t understand,” Burgess said.
Students reported the issue to administration, but now the school system and investigators want anyone else with information to come forward.
You can call the the sheriff’s office in Randolph or Clay counties if you have anything to report.