Former teacher accused of relationship with student appears in court

Former teacher charged with sex crimes appears in court

CLEVELAND COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Cleveland county officials are looking into whether a teacher had improper relations with a female student.

Emma Costner, 25, no longer works at Crest High School in Shelby. She's now facing two counts of sex act with a student, and made her first court appearance on Thursday.

It was the alleged victim’s parents who tipped off officials.

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Costner was the first person to go before a Cleveland County judge on Thursday, just hours after she bonded out of jail for those charges. It was during that hearing when the judge explained that she could be facing up to 100 months in prison if convicted.

High school is a place where teenagers come to learn, join the band or a sports team, or even form special relationships.

But according to Cleveland County Sheriff's deputies who are now involved with the investigation, there were parents at Crest High school that believed their daughter was involved in a very inappropriate relationship with Costner, who was still teaching at Crest when the alleged incidents occurred.

“We have to give them credit for being parents that are 'Johnny on the spot' in knowing what their children are doing - and knowing the appropriate way to handle it,” said Major Durwin Briscoe of the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office.

The news of the allegations traveled fast throughout the City of Shelby. Pete Bridges, who has nieces and nephews enrolled within the Cleveland County School District, says this situation has shocked him.

“Generally, you hear a male teacher on a female student. The female on female was a new twist on a terrible story,” said Bridges.

Bridges says he is also not quick to judge and lives by the phrase "live and let live." But, he believes there are boundaries for some things.

“When it comes to kids, it’s over the line. Teachers have too much authority... there’s certain lines in society you don’t cross,” Bridges said.

Costner is scheduled to be back in court at the end of September.

“We appreciate the work of the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department as they conducted a thorough investigation regarding the former employee,” Cleveland County Schools officials said in a statement to WBTV. " We are fortunate to have dedicated law enforcement agencies in Cleveland County and appreciate their support in ensuring the safety of our schools."

Costner, a Math teacher at Crest, was hired in August, 2017, and resigned on September 25, 2018.

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