BANCROFT, Ont. – A local parent says the community is in disbelief after a female teacher was arrested and charged with dozens of sex crimes, and says it should serve as a warning to parents to keep a closer eye on their childrens’ social media activities.
Central Hastings O.P.P. have laid 36 charges against Jaclyn McLaren, 36, of Stirling, Ont., including multiple counts of sexual exploitation and making child pornography. The charges involve students as young as 12 years old over a three-year span from 2013 to 2016.
Jennifer Woodcock, whose daughter attended McLaren’s French classes for two years, said parents are reeling from the notion that the incidents could have occurred right under their noses on their childrens’ cellphones and social media accounts.
“That’s the shocking part of it. It is shocking to think that … these situations can be going on and nobody have a clue,” she told Global News.
“Nobody overheard anything, no parents overheard anything, nobody’s radar went off, and it’s just puzzling,” she said.
“The parents are all disgusted, shocked, angry, hurt, terrified [about the allegations].”
McLaren was freed on a $10,000 bond Friday and is due back in court on March 31. None of the allegations have been proven in court. McLaren’s lawyer Pieter Kort could not be reached for comment.
The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board said it is aware of an investigation, that McLaren is not currently assigned to a school and that it is undertaking an independent investigation.
In the meantime, Woodcock is taking a closer look at her younger son’s digital life and advises other parents to do the same.
“My son has a few of his teacher’s phone numbers for texting … I asked him to remove that from his phone because I think it’s weird.”
“This social media stuff, it goes way far beyond what it should and there’s so many allowances because nobody’s watching these kids,” she said. “I consider myself a good parent, but my son had his teacher on Facebook and had his teacher texting him and I thought, how did this happen that I had no knowledge of this.”