'Teacher of the Year' accused of having sexual relationship with student (VIDEO)

She was chosen as her county's "Teacher of the Year" in 2011, but a year later, Erica DePalo, has been suspended indefinitely after being accused of having sex with one of her 15-year-old students. DePalo was a popular teacher at West Orange High School in New Jersey where she taught honors English to eighth- and ninth-graders. To many of them, the allegations came as a shock.

The 33-year-old teacher was charged Friday with first-degree aggravated assault, second-degree sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.


Read more in ¿Qué más?: Is it so wrong that this 18-year-old moved in with her former teacher?

West Orange Police has said that DePalo, who was also the school's junior varsity tennis coach, started a sexual relationship with the student mid-June and ended it on Aug. 28. In a video made after DePalo won the "Teacher of the Year" award, she said that although she doesn't have any children of her own, "every day that I go to school I have 110 children that are very near and dear to my heart."

As you may remember, this is not the first teacher sex scandal this year. Just a few weeks ago, a Texas teacher was found guilty of having an improper relationship with five students, including an orgy that was caught on videoWhat is it with these teachers and their unnatural desire to have sexual relationships with their students? While the students involved in the Texas case were all over 18 and were obviously very aware that what they were doing was wrong, this new case is different because we're talking about a 15-year-old boy.

Although some might think it's cool that an underage teen boy gets lucky with one of his teachers, the reality is that the teacher actually took advantage of him by using her position of power. The boy himself probably thought it was cool that he scored with his favorite teacher, but he's obviously not mature enough to understand the consequences of their sexual relationship. 

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On the other hand, the teachers involved in cases like this are obviously mentally unstable. Even so, it's unnerving to think that a "Teacher of the Year" could end up being accused of sexual assault. 

What do you think? What would you do if you found out your 15-year-old son was having a sexual relationship with one of his teachers? Share your thoughts with us by leaving us a comment below.

Images via Essex Co. Prosecutor's Office, CBS 2