Vermont teacher denies having sex with student

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (WCAX) A former Vermont teacher was in court Monday, accused of having sex with a student.

Anitra Lahiri, 44, used to teach at the Lyndon Institute. She's charged with sexual exploitation of a minor and disseminating indecent material to a minor.

Police say Lahiri and the student, who was 17 at the time, had sex at least twice in the spring of 2018 before he graduated in June, once at a Lyndonville apartment and once in Lahiri's classroom.

The student told police he initially started communicating with Lahiri over social media when he was in her study hall.

School officials say Lahiri was fired shortly before Thanksgiving of last year. They say she has had no contact with students and hasn't been on campus since late November.

"There was a lot of reflection, there was a lot of confusion, there was a lot of disbelief," said Javin Leonard of the Lyndon Institute. "We tell all of our teachers, faculty, staff, administration, everybody to maintain professional relationships with students even up into the social media realm. We highly discourage friending students and the like."

Lahiri denies the allegations and pleaded not guilty. She was released on conditions.

The Head of School, Twiladawn Perry, released a statement saying that the safety and well-being of their students is their top priorities.

"At Lyndon Institute, the safety and well-being of our students are our top priorities, and we take all necessary steps to ensure that these priorities are safeguarded. Our policies and procedures require that professional boundaries be maintained at all times between any adult in our community, and our students, and all school staff are trained concerning these limits, as well as about their obligations as mandated reporters. Our students are repeatedly taught that if they see something, they should say something. When the School learns of matters of concern from any source, we act quickly by both investigating and involving state and local authorities, as required and as appropriate to the situation," said Perry.