Three underage students who were involved in prostitution at a North Carolina high school will be charged as juveniles and face discipline from their high school. Police and Grimsley High School officials said on Tuesday that the incident, in which sex was allegedly exchanged for $20 during the students’ lunch hour, was an isolated incident.
According to the Greensboro News & Record, the incident, a misdemeanor offense, took place on school grounds on May 1 at about 12:10 p.m. and involved one male and two females. Four hours later, a resource officer was notified of the act, and the students were arrested later that day. Both school and law enforcement officials declined to say how the officer learned about what had taken place.
The three students were charged with solicitation, prostitution and abetting prostitution. Police wouldn't specify which students were charged with which crimes. All of the students involved were under 16, but police also haven't released their exact ages. Greensboro Police Department spokeswoman Susan Danielsen said that police couldn't release information that might lead to their identification because the students are juveniles.
“This is an isolated incident with students,” Cynthia Robbins Shah-Khan, director of communications for Guilford County Schools, said. “As a school district, we have acted on it and disciplined them.”
Shah-Khan pointed to a rule in Guilford County School system’s policies and procedures regarding lewd or illegal sexual acts. The policy states that it's up to the school’s principal to determine when public displays of affection are “inappropriate” and that anything “lewd,” or “illegal” will “result in consequences.
Inappropriate PDA is also banned by Grimsley’s student hand book, which states that, behaviors including “kissing, romantic hugging, embracing or any form of sexual contact, consensual or not, is prohibited and could result in consequences including suspension.” The policy also dictates that punishment can range from in-school suspension to long-term suspension.
Shah-Khan downplayed the incident, adding, “We’re talking $20 and three students that made really bad decisions.” Police said that nothing besides the $20 was exchanged.
Esther Ngo, a staff member at the Act Together Crisis Care Shelter, told television news station WFMY that the crime is more common than school officials might suggest. "It really is a reality,” Ngo said. “These kids are doing this. Some of the youth don't see another option because they just don't have those resources to have stable housing, stable food."
Col. Randy Powers, of the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, said "It's the first time we have heard of such a thing in this area. That doesn't mean it hasn't existed. But, it is something we've never dealt with in the past."