SEBRING — A Sebring High School teacher formally educated to protect the interests of those she works with was arrested Friday. She has been charged with having sex with a 15-year-old student.
Ariel Madden Reed, 30, was a critical thinking teacher at the high school. She has been charged with 10 counts of sexual battery upon a victim ages 12-18 by a teacher who has custodial authority of that student.
Her husband, Jonathan Patrick Reed, 37, has also been arrested for interference with the execution of a search warrant.
Ariel Reed was placed on administrative leave by the School Board of Highlands County on Feb. 10, the day the Special Victims Unit began investigating the case.
Highlands County sheriff’s officials said the investigation began when a School Resource Deputy learned the victim had nude images of Reed on his phone. When questioned by detectives, the victim described multiple sexual encounters between himself and Reed. The victim said they had sex at Reed’s home, in her car and in her school classroom between November of 2020, the first time they had sexual contact, and earlier this month.
Officials said prior to November 2020, Reed and the student had a teacher-student relationship.
Reed was hired by the School Board of Highlands County in 2015 as a front clerk at Woodlawn Elementary School. In 2016, she worked in the School Board’s main office.
She went to the classroom in May 2019 as a teacher at Avon Park Middle School and later in the year transferred to Sebring High School.
“I want to commend the staff at Sebring High School for taking immediate action and quickly notifying the school resource deputy, as well as the Special Victims Unit for working quickly to develop this case. We take any allegations involving children very seriously and are continuing to investigate,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said.
“We are committed to providing a safe learning environment in all Highlands County schools, so we are shocked and saddened by these allegations. School administration and district officials are fully cooperating with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office as they investigate this matter,” Deputy Superintendent Andrew Lethbridge said. “No further comments will be made as this is an ongoing investigation.”
According to the HCSO, Patrick Reed’s only involvement was trying to keep sheriff’s deputies from entering the couple’s home on Friday.
The investigation will continue, but officials say there is not expected to be any other victims.
The Reeds have both been booked into the Highlands County Jail.