CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. - Students and parents are stunned after learning about the arrest of a local high school teacher caught in an underage sex sting operation.
Police said Steve Martin, an acclaimed veteran math teacher at Carrollton High School, was discovered visiting a website known for connecting adults with underage individuals.
Officials told Channel 2 Action News a Tallapoosa investigator working in the child exploitation and computer crimes unit posed as an underage female and exchanged messages with Martin.
On Tuesday evening, Martin went to a picnic area in a small residential division, expecting to meet up with a teenage girl. Instead, officers ordered him the ground, searched and arrested him.
Martin turned in his resignation to the school superintendent Wednesday morning. He worked at Carrollton City Schools for 14 years and was chairman of the high school math department.
The superintendent said his arrest was not connected to any student at the school.
"When we heard about his arrest, we were shocked and found it hard to believe. Mr. Martin was regarded as one of our exceptional teachers and students and faculty alike held him in high regard," the superintendent said.
“He would have been my teacher next year,” student Kaitlyn Kilgore said.
Like everyone else, Kilgore was stunned to hear of his arrest.
“I think it's crazy. I never thought anything like that would have happened," Kilgore said.
"It's very scary to me to know that my daughter could have been in that classroom," parent Jessica Barron said.
Resident Alva Kapple told Channel 2 Action News she saw the arrest happen.
“It’s extremely disturbing. The fact of the matter, the future, the kids are being entrusted in this man's hands," Kapple said.
“It was a teacher? There's no room for that ever," another resident, Anthony King, said.
The school district said it takes the allegations seriously, as student safety is a top priority.
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