Lakeland teacher accused of hiding 15-year-old from deputies, grooming her for sex: Sheriff Grady Judd

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd displaying mug shots for Rameir Jones (left) and Jerron Dunn (right).

A private school teacher in Polk County is facing felony charges after deputies say he engaged in inappropriate conduct with a 15-year-old girl and hid her from deputies. 

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Rameir Jones, 21, was arrested on Wednesday after they said he engaged in inappropriate conduct with a minor. 

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Jones, who teaches 5th through 8th grade at Preparing the Way Academy in Lakeland, harbored a 15-year-old who was violating her probation and groomed her for sex, according to Sheriff Grady Judd.

The teacher was charged with sex offense on a student by an authority figure, traveling to meet a minor to engage in illegal activity, and unlawful use of a two-way communication device, among other charges.

Sheriff Judd clarified that the 15-year-old did not attend Jones' school. According to Judd, detectives went to Jones' home on Mossy Oak Lane searching for the 15-year-old Lakeland girl who was missing and endangered; she had left her home on Monday after cutting off her probationary ankle monitor.

Detectives later found out that at that time, Jones had instructed the teenager to hide in his car. Detectives returned the next morning to find her in his bed and immediately took Jones into custody.

The girl was also arrested for violation of probation and cutting her monitor off.

This marks the second educator to be arrested in Polk County in less than a week for behaving inappropriately with teenagers or students. 

On November 30, Jerron Dunn, a substitute teacher working at New Beginnings High School, a charter school, was arrested after two teens made allegations that he sent inappropriate videos to them. 

"These folks are put in a position of authority over students, over children, over kids," Sheriff Judd said during a press conference on Thursday. "They are to show the appropriate leadership for these children. Both of these failed the community, failed their schools, failed the parents whose children they were entrusted to, and they're going to be held accountable."

Sheriff Judd reported that in addition to the two victims they had connected to Dunn initially, two more victims had come forward, leading PCSO to re-arrest him.

Photo courtesy: Polk County Sheriff's Office

According to PCSO, a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old told their guidance counselor Dunn sent both of them videos of himself masturbating via Snapchat. The guidance counselor reported it to the sheriff’s office. 

Detectives said he admitted to communicating on Snapchat with the 17-year-old and asking the 18-year-old to be his girlfriend, as well as sending her explicit videos.

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He was arrested for these allegations and posted $62,000 bond to be released from jail. 

The sheriff's office reported that after that, two more victims came forward, leading to his re-arrest. According to PCSO, Dunn had sex with a 20-year-old student of his and sent videos to an 18-year-old from a classroom.

He has since posted $30,000 bond and has been released from jail again.

"Two teachers preying on students is two too many. I don't know what either of these suspects were thinking, but rest assured, if you groom, solicit, inappropriately talk to, or touch any student here in Polk County, we will lock you up and do our best to make sure you won't have access to children again," stated Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd

Judd asked if there are any other victims involved, they should come forward. 

FOX 13 did reach out to Preparing the Way Academy for comment, but they didn't respond.