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Star quarterback tossed from school and kicked off team for taking ‘upskirt’ pic of teacher

An Indiana high school junior and football player was expelled from school after he reportedly took an upskirt photo of a teacher and posted it on social media.

The Indy Star reports that on Sept. 28, Plainfield High School star quarterback, Ben Slaton, made a “serious error in judgment” that not only may damage his high school football career, but also caused pain and turmoil to one of the school’s teacher. Slaton is accused of snapping a photo of his teacher’s legs as she sat in class wearing a skirt. He then posted the photo to Snapchat.

“I thought it would be funny to take a picture and send it to my friends,” Slaton said.

The error in judgement caused him more consequences than he expected. Since then, football recruitment has halted and friends he’s known since young childhood are not texting or calling him anymore.

“Hopefully, a lot of people have had the Ben Slaton conversation in their household,” the teen’s father, Damon Slaton, said. “By no means is what he did acceptable….He set the entire chain of events in motion. He broke my rule by having a cellphone in school. He made another conscious decision to take a picture in class – an inappropriate picture. It was. And then he made the conscious decision to share that picture with three other people.”

Slaton apparently second-guessed his decision and deleted the photo from his phone shortly after he took it, but not before another student took a screenshot of the photo and sent it to the school principal. The following day, school administrators brought Slaton into an office, where he waited until local police officers arrived and escorted him from the school.

Initially, the school gave Slaton three days of suspension as punishment. He later learned he was kicked off of the football team and expelled for the semester from the high school. Some parents told their children to stop contacting and hanging around the teen, while other friends informed him he was no longer welcome over at their home. Later, rumors began surfacing, and the more people that joined in, the more distorted the true story became, according to Slaton’s father.

“Everybody thought they knew the whole story,” Damon Slaton said. “We heard everything from ‘Ben had a camera mounted on the desk’ to ‘Ben had a camera on his shoe’ to ‘Ben came up and took a picture under her skirt.’ We heard everything imaginable. It kind of manifested into something that it wasn’t.”

According to Damon Slaton, the “shadowy” photo only showed the teacher’s legs. Although the student’s actions were clearly inappropriate, others, such as assistant principal at Plainfield, Brent Schwanekamp, wrote a letter on the teen’s behalf, as Slaton didn’t have a past record of discipline problems.

“He had not had previous discipline of any magnitude, and this behavior was out of character for this young man that I have known since he was in elementary school. It is clear that Ben showed terrible judgement on that day, but he has demonstrated remorse and is hopeful for forgiveness.”

Although Slaton could have returned to Plainfield this upcoming semester, his family decided to transfer him to the nearby Danville High School, in hopes that he isn’t treated badly for his past decisions.

“I’m sure it will carry over, but I feel like it won’t be as bad,” the teen said. “It will get me a little bit away from it. No matter where I go, I will still probably hear about it. But it will be different – a different community. I think that will help out.”

Regardless, Dr. Anne Lewis, a licensed counseling psychologist, said it’s important to remember that the photo of the teacher, although it doesn’t show her face, was shared online and could have been saved and shared numerous other times. Lewis indicated that the teacher is the true victim and that the incident has the capability of changing her life forever.

“She can’t control where that photo gets sent and that’s where the real violation comes in. That can have a traumatizing effect. Depending on how much anxiety it brings to her, it can change the type of clothes she wears to work. It takes away some of her freedom.”

Lewis also added, however, that the teen is young and is human just like everyone else, and ultimately deserves a second chance to prove his character.

“We don’t need to bash him as a human being. He made a dumb choice and has to live with the consequences. We all have to live with consequences of our choices. But it can be turned into something positive he can learn from.”

[Feature Photo: Ben Slaton/Family Handout]