Teacher accused of sending obscene pictures of student for ‘extra credit’

A teacher at a Christian school for children with learning disabilities has been arrested for allegedly being too close to students on several occasions.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office in Florida announced that Derek Stribling, 39, of Lakeland, has been charged with inappropriate sexual conduct with two students aged 14 and 18 at K-12 Crossroads Christian School in Lakeland.

He was arrested from his house at around 10:52 pm on Thursday and reportedly refused to speak to investigators. He was later charged with obscene/erotic molestation of a minor, lewd/sexual conduct, offenses against students by an authority figure, and transmitting material that is harmful to a minor.

Derek Stribling, a Christian school teacher and coach in Lakeland, Florida, was arrested on multiple charges related to inappropriate relationships with young students. Police allege that the former college basketball player had inappropriately sexually assaulted two students, aged 14 and 18.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Stribling was described by officials as a dean of students, history teacher, basketball coach and life management coach.

Records also show that Stribling played college basketball at both the University of Tennessee between 2001 and 2003 and Tennessee Tech University between 2004 and 2006. He attempted to enter the NBA draft after his collegiate career.

“The life management he was teaching these kids is frightening, really frightening,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a news conference Friday.

Regarding the 18-year-old victim, Judd said the student was having trouble with her father and feared she would no longer be allowed to return to school.

“She’s confiding in Derek Stribling,” Judd said.

The adult student reportedly told detectives that Stribling asked for her phone number on February 14 of this year, so that “he could investigate” her conflict with her father. He also reportedly told her that she had a “D” grade in her class and could get “extra credit.”

“They started talking about sex,” Judd said. “It was dirty talk, dirty talk. And as a result, he started doing all kinds of dirty talk and sending it through social media.”

Officials said Stribling allegedly initiated conversations with the student via text and FaceTime, over which he allegedly showed his penis to the victim while masturbating. In another instance, Straibling allegedly invited the student to a hotel parking lot for oral sex, which he refused because he was married.

“We found out that his ‘D’ became ‘A’,” Judd said. “Now isn’t that surprising? He used his position as his teacher and his low grades as collusion, and they talked dirty.”

The school principal, listed on the Crossroads website as Dr. Byron Williams, suspended stribling and notified law enforcement of the situation the next morning, prompting a preliminary investigation.

The authorities, during their investigation, found that a 16-year-old victim, who was 14 at the time of her alleged encounter with Stribling, told the 18-year-old victim that she too had faced similar problems.

Police said the minor victim’s encounter took place in 2020, when she was a basketball player and Stribbling was her coach.

“And on one occasion—I’m not going to stammer here—the suspect kissed and made love to a 14-year-old at school about two years ago,” Judd said.

The same victim reportedly experienced similar behavior to the above victim, including text conversations and social media video chats. Stribling reportedly called her twice for a video chat and showed himself masturbating. When he allegedly tried to meet her for oral sex on her, she refused as well.

“We are really, really, really afraid that there were other victims out there,” Judd said based on Stribling’s pattern of abuse, adding that the suspect is currently lodged in the county jail.

2004 US Department of Education report good It was found that approximately 10 percent of students experience sexual misconduct by a teacher at some point during their K-12 school experience. Abuse prevention organization Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct and Exploitation (SESAME) compiled data from 2015, showing that 500 teachers were arrested for allegations of sexual abuse that year.

He said the goal is to send Stribling “to jail for too long for taking advantage of the children of the students of Crossroads Christian School entrusted to their care.”

“It is extremely offensive on every level and wrong on every level,” he said. “He must be an adult.”

newsweek Crossroads reached out to Dr. Byron Williams, the principal of Christian School, for comment.

Leave a Comment