Three Teachers On Leave After Accusations Of Inappropriate Contact Or Having Sex With Students

Teachers, sex, and students — those words have been heard together all too often in Southern California’s West Covina’s South Hills High School in the past few weeks.

Two teachers, Melody Lippert, 38, and Michelle Ghirelli, 30, were arrested Saturday for the alleged involvement in sexual contact with students in two different trips to the beach. Both trips were not sponsored by the school and alcohol may have been involved, according to KTLA 5.

It is alleged Lippert met with a group of male students in November 2014, provided alcohol, and engaged in a sexual relationship with one of the students.

Weeks later, Lippert arranged for an overnight camping trip on the beach with Ghirelli and some students. Inappropriate sexual relations were alleged to have occurred on that night between the teachers and students.

Both teachers have been booked into the Orange County Jail. Lippert was arrested for conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor and being held on $20,000 bail.

Ghirelli was arrested on suspicion of oral copulation and unlawful sex with a minor and her bail was set at $50,000.

Authorities claim both teachers were placed on paid administrative leave by the Covina-Valley Unified School District. The two teachers have posted bail and are scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday, according to the Orange County Register.

This is not the first incident to happen within the Covina-Valley Unified School District.

Less than two weeks ago, West Covina police arrested a part-time wrestling coach working at South Hills High. The coach, 29-year-old Anthony Vidales, was arrested on allegations of inappropriate contact with a 17-year-old student, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Covina-Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Michelle Van Der Linden was quick to assure everyone the coach was put on leave quickly after his arrest.

As for the two female teachers who are accused of having inappropriate contact with students on two separate occasions on a beach, Van Der Linden said the police were contacted immediately.

“As soon as we found out about this, we contacted the Police Department. We’re taking the matter very, very seriously.”

Van Der Linden said as soon as it was known the two female teachers could have been involved in some type of inappropriate relationship with students, parents were told what was happening on Sunday with a voice-recorded message from the high school principal.

[Image via Orange County Sheriff’s Department]