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First Coast High teacher pleads not guilty on charges of having sex with former student

Christine Dennard free on $150,000 bond pending next court appearance Wednesday

Christina Dennard enters a not guilty plea at her arraignment. She is accused of five counts of having sex with a student.
Christina Dennard enters a not guilty plea at her arraignment. She is accused of five counts of having sex with a student. (WJXT)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – First Coast High School teacher Christine Dennard appeared in a Duval County courtroom Monday, where her attorney entered a not-guilty plea on five counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

Dennard, 32, a chorus director, is accused of having a sexual relationship with a former student of the school.

She was initially arrested in late November but was released on bond $7,500 bond. She was arrested again Friday after she failed to show up Thursday for a previous arraignment date. Her new bond was set at $150,000.

Her lawyer had previously filed a written plea of not guilty, but it was clear in court Thursday morning that the judge had expected her to appear. Court records show Friday’s arrest was for an additional count of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrest report, her first arrest came three days after detectives began an investigation into unlawful sexual activity.

The alleged victim, a 16-year-old female student at the school, told investigators that she was in an intimate relationship with Dennard, her teacher, from April to October 2018. The student said she had sex with Dennard both off and on the campus of First Coast High School. Investigators were able to corroborate the student’s statements, according to the arrest report.

“Obviously they’re serious allegations, but she does have a defense and all of that will play out in court," said David Robbins, Dennard’s attorney.

According to Duval County Public Schools, Dennard resigned her teaching job the day she was arrested.