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Yukon teacher accused of second-degree rape, possession of child pornography

Brandon King / Red Dirt Report
A local Yukon teacher has been accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.
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YUKON, Okla.-- Hunter Joanne Day, a Yukon High School teacher, was arrested at her home on accusations of second-degree rape, soliciting sex from a minor and child pornography.

The 22-year-old was arrested at 10:10 p.m. Wednesday evening after messaging an underage student to come to her home before her husband arrived, according to a statement made by the Canadian County Sheriff Chris West. As of the time of this report, the name of the victim has not been released.

According to reports, the parents of the teenager grew suspicious after his demeanor grew more secretive. Eventually, the parents discovered an affair between their son and Day, his chemistry teacher.

Nude photos and explicit text messages were found on the phone by the teenager’s parents.

“The parents got on the phone and found text messages and some photographs on the cell phone that concerned them,” Sheriff West said. “They contacted the sheriff’s office and requested a forensic dump of the phone.”

A forensic dump is used by law enforcement across the country when a suspect is attempting to hide possible incriminating evidence on their computer’s hard drive.

On the phone were text messages between the minor and the teacher that led law enforcement to believe the two were participating in, “an unlawful sexual relationship,” according to West.

In the text messages sent, a plan was set for the two to meet Wednesday afternoon before Day's husband, who is also a faculty member at Yukon High School, came home.

This plan was used by the police department to set a trap to catch Day in the act.

Yukon police used the minor’s phone to act as her student. While investigators approached the home, police sent a message to Day indicating they were outside. Day sent a message back saying the door was “unlocked as usual,” according to the press release.

Police entered the home to find candles lit and Day lying on a blanket spread across the living room floor. She was found wearing a grey Christmas-themed sweater with a cat on the front and athletic shorts. While police were arresting her, Day admitted to the charges brought against her.

Hunter Day at time of arrest and mugshot.  (Photo provided by Canadian County Sheriff’s Office)

Amid her confessions, she also confessed to sending explicit photos of herself to the teenager and receiving nude photos from the teenager.

Day was being held in the Canadian Counjail with bond set at $85,000. Jail records show that her bond was paid and she was released at 3:05 p.m. The name of the payer was not released.

The charges against Day were filed, according to a press release by Canadian County Sheriff Chris West.

“This is a classic case of a serious breach of public trust. School teachers are entrusted to protect and educate our children, not to engage in an unlawful sexual relationship with them,” West said. “I’m no longer surprised by the people who commit these crimes, because predators come from all walks of life.”

Yukon Public Schools released an official statement to address the scandal. 

“This behavior was representative of a very poor decision by a person entrusted with teaching our students. The safety and well-being of our students is our number one priority. Yukon utilizes application references, interviewing protocols and state background checks prior to hiring any employee in the district in an effort to protect our students.” The district said in a statement.

Day was arrested a month after appearing on News Channel 9 about being an emergency teacher in Oklahoma.

During her television spot, she stated that she was worried the kids would not be able to take her seriously because of her young age.

She was hired as an emergency teacher in the Yukon Public School system. She was hired to teach chemistry yet it has not been determined where Day met the student involved in the charges.

Reports of her resume have surfaced showing she had worked for the Yukon school district for six months prior to the arrest.

Before working for Yukon High School, she was an undergraduate from Oklahoma Baptist University.

Listed on her resume, Day had three previous jobs. From 2010 to 2015, she worked as a retail worker for The Rage, a clothing store, in Ardmore. In 2015, Day began to work two jobs as a barista at Compass Coffeehouse in Edmond and a pharmacy clerk for Medic Pharmacy. She continued to work for the companies until she hired at Yukon High School.

The top of her resume had a bible verse from Proverbs 1:28 which reads, “Then they shall call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me.”

Day is an undergraduate from the Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in Natural Science.

Within in her cover letter to the principal of Yukon High School, Day writes, “Although I lack technical teaching experience, I feel as though the experience I do have from my undergraduate degree and job history make me a candidate for the position.”

Due to the $215 million budget hole for the state, Oklahoma has had to cut teacher’s pay back. This has resulted in a shortage of teachers for the schools across the state.

In the summer of 2017, Oklahoma schools grew more reliant on filling teacher vacancies with emergency teachers.

According to the Associated Press, more than 220 emergency certificates were approved for the year.

An article from study.com and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the requirements to become an emergency certified teacher is an Associate’s degree and the completion of the state teaching certification exam.

To become a regular teacher requires at least a Bachelor’s degree, a teaching license from the Oklahoma Department of Education and three evaluation examinations.

Public response towards the breaking news has shown anger towards the teacher’s actions and the media coverage.

Bethany Bickell, the Assistant Manager for the Yukon City Bites, said the news felt different when being covered by other media outlets.

“The feedback to the story was much different than most feedback to stories with male teachers and female students,” she said.

Janet Smith, 25, is a student at OSU OKC working towards her teaching degree. She said it’s the actions of teachers like Day that make it harder for young women to get jobs out of college.

“I’m here working harder than I ever have to make a commitment to education and people like Day are going out there and making us look terrible,” Smith said. “Whatever the circumstance is, you have to be professional and behave like the adult in the room because that’s what you are. What she did was wrong. Plain and simple.”

For others, people don’t see this as major of a scandal.

Angela Marie is a Yukon native and she says what happened isn’t as big as what people are making it out to be.

“Let's be real, 16 years old is the age of consent in Oklahoma had she not had been a teacher,” Marie said. “She wouldn't have charges. Six years isn't that large of an age gap. Although it is wrong that she was in a position of power, and yes she was an instructor, biologically speaking this isn't as terrible as the media is trying to make it.”

According to the Oklahoma State Court Network, section eight of the article “Rape Defined” is clear on what the definition for a minor means.

“Where the victim is at least sixteen (16) years of age and is less than twenty (20) years of age and is a student, or under the legal custody or supervision of any public or private elementary or secondary school, junior high or high school, or public vocational school, and engages in sexual intercourse with a person who is eighteen (18) years of age or older and is an employee of the same school system,” it reads.

Day has not been heard from since her bail was paid and she was released. 

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Brandon King

Brandon King is a journalism student at OCCC, working towards becoming a professional writer....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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