Grandmother: School did not notify families of Claiborne teacher charged with sexual exploitation

HARROGATE, Tenn. (WVLT) — Parents of children at H. Y. Livesay expressed concern after they say they weren't notified about the situation involving a teacher who has been charged with 16 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Aaron James Ellison was arrested and charged with sexual exploitation of a minor on December 3, 2019. / Source: (Claiborne County Sheriff)

"Every kid in the school seems to know the story but none of us as parents have been notified by the school board which I find highly unusual," said one grandmother. Her granddaughter is a 7th-grade student at H.Y. Livesay.

Records show Aaron James Ellison is accused of sending and receiving lewd images with a 13-year-old girl between August and November 2019.

"I just think that it's horrible that the school is hiding this from all of us. We're all so tired of kids being exploited that anything we can do to help we need to do," said the Grandmother. "Should we be talking to our kids about this?"

Ellison was arrested on December 3 and faces 16 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and five counts of solicitation of a minor to observe sexual conduct.

The grandmother said she is worried that other children could have been affected.

"I called the school the same night and all she said to me was 'I can't really say anything at this time but I can tell you I appreciate you,' said the grandmother.

According to Claiborne County Schools, Ellison has been suspended without pay.

The school system has guidelines in place to handle situations related to "allegations of sexual misconduct" and how they should be communicated to the public.

The guidelines, which can be read here, ask the head of the school to "give careful consideration to managing communications on many different levels." The levels mentioned include "what should be communicated to the involved student and student's parents or legal guardian...what, if anything should be communicated to various members of the school community...the local community and local government leadership."

Under "what should be communicated" to the students, students' families and staff, the guidelines said, "Very often, a letter from the head of school or board of trustees can go a long way to educate and inform, and avoid negative feelings or impact on the school, its image, or reputation."

Additionally, the guidelines offer help "In dealing with the media following a crisis" which instruct educators and officials to "identify a spokesperson," "set up a communications team," "determine what should be communicated to the media," "determine what to communicate to students, students' families and staff" and to "maintain an open mind and a good attitude" with the media.

Officials with the Claiborne County School System have declined to offer any further details about the case with Ellison.

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