A pair of high school teachers in California have been arrested on suspicion of having sex with students during an alcohol-fueled party at the beach.
Melody Lippert, 38, and Michelle Ghirelli, 30, were arrested Saturday after other teachers at South Hills High School alerted authorities to circulating rumors of the alleged crimes, NBC LA reports.
The claims against the two teachers surround two incidents in November of 2014.
South Hills High School teacher Melody Lippert allegedly met a group of male students in November at the beach, where she gave them alcohol and “engaged in a sexual relationship with one of them,” according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
A few weeks later, Lippert allegedly set up an overnight camping trip to the same beach with some students along with Michelle Ghirelli, who had taught at South Hills before being assigned to work in the school district's offices. The two women are suspected of having sexual relations with the students during that trip, which was not sponsored by the school.
Officials did not release the ages of the involved students, though based on the charges, "you can make that assumption as to which teacher was with students that were of age and were of not,” Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Hallock.
Lippert was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Ghirelli could be charged with oral copulation and unlawful sex with a minor.
Hallock also emphasized the severity of the matter.
“A teacher is a position of authority. They’re trusted. Parents send their kids to school every day and expect that they’re safe,” Hallock said, according to KTLA. “To compromise that safety, to compromise that trust that we have in our teachers, is taken very seriously.”
Both suspects were booked into Orange County Jail. They are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.