Volusia teacher accused of having sex with student bonds out of jail

Stephanie Peterson Ferri released hours after bond lowered

By Loren Korn - Reporter

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Former middle school teacher Stephanie Peterson Ferri filed for divorce about two weeks before deputies arrested her for having an improper relationship with a student.

Ferri bonded out of jail Thursday night. 

The 26-year-old donned an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs and her hair covered her face to hide from the cameras as she made her first appearance before a judge earlier in the day.

Deputies said the former teacher from New Smyrna Beach Middle School posed as a mentor, only to have sex with a 14-year-old boy, sending him nude pictures and giving him drugs.

The school district said she didn't have any major disciplinary actions.

Sheriff Mike Chitwood said the charges are disturbing.

"I think it's a good place for her," said Sheriff Chitwood. "You play them with drugs, you're in a position of power, 'Don't tell anybody, we're going to get in trouble. I'm going to make you the teacher's aide.' Basically, that young man, his childhood was stolen."

Peterson's attorney did not dispute the charges of lewd and lascivious battery or sending harmful material to a minor but did argue to lower Peterson's $25,000 bond. The attorney claimed she had no flight history, no prior criminal history and has lengthy community ties.

The judge eventually granted the request and lowered Peterson's bond to $12,500.

The judge also ordered Peterson not have contact with the victim. Peterson can have access to the internet as long as she doesn't post pictures of herself and must take medications that she's been described.

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