A 33-year-old former junior high school counselor in Texas who was caught naked in bed with a teen student by the boy’s mom has been arrested, KTVT-TV reports.
Shannon Hathaway is accused of engaging in an “improper sexual relationship” with a student, police say. She was arrested June 14 on the felony charge, the Bedford Police Department said in a press release. Her arrest came after an investigation that lasted more than a month after authorities received a tip about the counselor’s alleged behavior, police said. According to KTVT, the “relationship” ended after Hathaway and the teen boy were found naked in his bed by the boy’s mother. Police began investigating after the 17-year-old’s teen sister went to school administrators, police said.
Hathaway, who worked at Harwood Junior High School in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District, surrendered at the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department after learning she would be charged with improper relationship between an educator and student, police said. She is represented by a lawyer, who has not commented. Hathaway, of Keller, Texas, is smiling in her mugshot released by the Tarrant County Jail.
“The safety and security of our students is HEB ISD’s number one priority, and isolated incidents such as this one violate the trust between student, parent, and school personnel and will not be tolerated,” a statement from the school district said.
Here’s what you need to know about Shannon Hathaway:
1. Hathaway Is Accused of Being ‘Involved in a Physical Relationship’ With the 9th Grade Student During the 2016-2017 School Year
Authorities became aware of “allegations of a potential inappropriate relationship between one of Harwood Junior High School’s school counselors, Shannon Hathaway, and a former student,” on May 9, 2018, the Bedford Police Department said in its press release. The department’s Criminal Investigation Division began looking into the accusations and notified the HEBISD administration of the allegations against Hathaway.
According to police, the investigation revealed a male student who had been at Harwood Junior High the previous school year, 2016-2017, had “allegedly been involved in a physical relationship with Hathaway … who was a school counselor at Harwood Junior High School.” The former student was in the 9th grade at the time and was 17, police said. Investigators concluded the investigation and determined Hathaway should be charged with improper relationship between an educator and student.
“The Bedford Police Department appreciates the cooperation of the numerous employees of the HEBISD who provided assistance when asked and encourages parents to talk to their children and report suspicions of inappropriate conduct,” police said in the release.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the 17-year-old confided in his sister that he “had sex” with Hathaway at least 12 times. The sister told police that she never saw anything inappropriate, but did see Hathaway spending a lot of time with her brother and holding his hand.
2. She Has Been Married Since 2013 & Told the Victim’s Sister She Would Leave Her Husband for the Boy
Shannon Peterson Hathaway and her husband have been married since 2013, online records show. They were married in Tarrant County, Texas, on May 18, 2013, online records show. Her husband could not be reached for comment about her arrest.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Hathaway told the 17-year-old victim’s sister that she would leave her husband for the boy. The teen has since dropped out of school and is 18. Police said the “relationship” ended after the boy’s mother found him in bed with Hathaway.
Hathaway’s husband works as a high school teacher and wrestling coach in another Texas school district. Hathaway and her husband live in a home in Keller, Texas, that he built in 2010, according to their wedding website. They met when he moved to Texas to work as a teacher and coach, and were engaged in 2012, the wedding website says.
“Shannon was born in Fort Worth, Texas. She lived in Bedford with her parents and sister … before attending college at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Shannon graduated from TCU in 2006 and immediately started teaching 1st grade in Southlake, Texas. She taught 1st grade for 6 years while also getting her masters in counseling at TCU. Shannon will begin her counseling career in H-E-B ISD this school year. Shannon loves being with her family & friends, baseball, fishing, Colorado, the sun, TCU, and kids,” the wedidng website says.
2. School District Officials Say They Don’t Believe Any Incidents Occurred on School Property
Shannon Dann Hathaway has been on paid administrative leave since the district learned of the accusations against her in May. Toby Givens, the principal at Harwood Junior High, sent a letter to parents about Hathaway on May 21. He wrote, “It has come to my attention that questions are being voiced by students, parents and staff regarding the absence of counselor Shannon Hathaway. I appreciate your concern for Ms. Hathaway. Currently, Ms. Hathaway is on paid administrative leave while the District investigates concerns that have been presented. This is standard procedure when concerns are brought forward indicating the potential violation of a district policy.”
Givens added, “In an abundance of caution, the district is conducting a full and complete investigation. No determinations have yet been made regarding whether any policy violations occurred. Only after a full and complete investigation will any actions, if needed, be taken. In order to protect the integrity of the investigation, Ms. Hathaway has been instructed to not talk about the investigation or the circumstances related to the investigation. I ask you to respect Ms. Hathaway’s privacy at this time. As always, the safety and security of students is HEB ISD’s number one priority.”
The police department said the school district was asked to cooperate in the investigation and they received that cooperation. He said investigators asked the district to not investigate the accusations on its own so as to not interfere in the police investigation.
It is not clear if Hathaway was fired by the school district, but HEB ISD Superintendent Steve Chapman told parents in a robocall Thursday morning that it was an “isolated event” and referred to her as a “former employee,” the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. “There is no evidence to suggest the alleged behavior happened on the Harwood Junior High campus,” Chapman said.
But the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the 17-year-old’s sister told police her brother told her he “had sex” with Hathaway at her home in Keller, at his mother’s home in Euless and “potentially” at Harwood Junior High.
Texas State Board of Education records show that Hathaway is licensed as a classroom teacher and as a school counselor. Her teaching license is for a generalist from early childhood to grade 4 and as an English as a second language supplemental teacher from early childhood to grade 4. She is licensed as a school counselor for early childhood to grade 12. Her licenses are set to expire in 2023. She first obtained her license in 2006.
3. Hathaway, Who Comes From a Family of Teachers, Grew Up Attending School in the District Where She Worked as a Counselor & Studied at TCU
Shannon Hathaway, whose maiden name is Shannon Dann Peterson, is a native of Bedford, Texas. On a page now deleted from the school district’s website, Hathaway said she had been teaching at Harwood Junior High since 2013. She said she grew up going to school in the HEBISD and graduated from L.D. Bell High School in 2002. Hathaway then attended Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, graduating in 2006 with a degree in education. She also completed her master’s of education in counseling degree at TCU.
Hathaway comes from a family of teachers and TCU graduates. Her mother and sister both also attended the college and are teachers in Texas. According to an alumni magazine article from 2010, the trio previously all worked together at Durham Elementary School in Southlake, Texas, where Hathaway taught for six years before becoming a counselor at Harwood Junior High. Her mother told the TCU website that her daughters showed an interest in getting into education from a young age, “For birthdays and Christmas, they asked for teaching supplies. They have three aunts who are teachers too, so they got plenty of charts and stickers.”
She said her daughter is “assertive and firm,” adding, She is very efficient. She is very confident in bringing order to her classroom.”
5. Hathaway Was Booked Into the Tarrant County Jail on $5,000 Bail & She Faces Between 2 to 20 Years in Prison If Convicted
Hathaway was booked into the Tarrant County Jail on Thursday, June 14, and held on $5,000 bail after turning herself in. Online records did list her as being an inmate at the jail Thursday night. She has hired an attorney, who has not yet commented about the case. It is not clear when she is scheduled to appear in court for the first time.
The charge she faces is a second-degree felony, which carries a potential sentence of between 2 to 20 years in prison if she is convicted. There have been several arrests of teachers on the improper relationship charge in recent years in Texas, with sentences varying from several years in prison to probation. You can read about some of those cases at the link below: