Florida Teacher Accused of Sexual Relationship with 14-Year-Old, Allegedly Bought Him Drugs

A Florida middle school teacher is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student and buying him drugs.

Stephanie Peterson Ferri, 26, was arrested Wednesday, Feb. 28, and charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious battery and one count of transmission of harmful materials to a minor, the Volusia County Sheriff's Department reported on Facebook.

According to officials, Peterson, a science teacher at New Smyrna Beach Middle School, began a sexual relationship with a student in eighth grade in November. Police were alerted to the relationship on Tuesday, Feb. 27, after the student told his parents.

The 14-year-old told officials that the relationship began with Peterson sending him nude photos of herself, but progressed to them meeting late at night. He reported that Peterson would drive to his home and pick him up at around 11 p.m. and bring him back at around 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. He also alleged that Peterson bought him marijuana and smoking pipes.

When the teen's grades began to slip as a result of the relationship, Peterson is said to have told the eighth grader they couldn't tell anyone or they would get into trouble.

Peterson was arrested and booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail. She is being held on a $25,000 bond.

According to Newsweek, Peterson began teaching as a substitute teacher in the school district in 2010 before becoming a full-time teacher in August 2013. She started teaching at New Smyrna Beach Middle School in August 2016. She resigned on Monday for "personal reasons," school district spokesperson Nancy Wait said. Wait also claimed that the school district sent out a phone message to parents who have students at the middle school about the incident.

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Authorities do not yet know if this was an isolated incident and are asking anyone with any additional information to contact the VCSO Child Exploitation Unit.