Ripley Co. teacher accused of partying with students, providing - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Ripley Co. teacher accused of partying with students, providing alcohol to minors

Melissa Wilhoit (South Ripley High School website) Melissa Wilhoit (South Ripley High School website)
RIPLEY COUNTY, IN (FOX19) -

A Ripley County teacher is accused of letting underage students party at her home while she provided some of them with alcohol.

Melissa Wilhoit is listed as a social studies teacher at South Ripley High School on the district's website, and now, her name is also listed on a probable cause affidavit that was filed in court.

"Blew me away," Shawn Farrell, a parent, said. "Crazy."

Ripley County Sheriff's Deputies believe Wilhoit let her daughter host a going away party for an exchange student inside their home garage on June 14.

Detectives said that they got a call about the party, so they showed up there and saw teenagers were drinking alcohol.

"As a parent, just hearing this, it's disheartening, and it's a break of trust," a local parent said.

Court records show that Wilhoit told deputies that she had been asleep and didn't know how many people were there.

However, the affidavit states that deputies believe Wilhoit gave one girl a bottle of vodka to drink and was passing out jello shots while students were playing beer pong.

"Teaching them it's okay to disregard the law," a parent said. "As a teacher, it sets a very bad example."

Authorities arrested several party-goers for underage drinking. Wilhoit is facing a furnishing alcohol to a minor charge.

Some people on social media are defending her. Others, like several parents who spoke with FOX19 NOW, are not.  

"I thought Mrs. Wilhoit was a role model here at South Ripley," Farrell said. "It kind of blew me away when I heard about what happened."

Their message for Wilhoit: be glad it wasn't much worse and didn't end with a drunk student getting behind the wheel.

"If they're drunk, and they hit somebody else or God forbid kill somebody or themselves, guess who provided them the substance? Then there's blood on your hands," a parent told FOX19 NOW.

FOX19 NOW reached out to Wilhoit for comment, but has not heard back from her. She is due in court July 25.

Rob Moorhead, the Superintendent of the South Ripley Community School Corporation, provided a statement:


"I have been made aware of the charges filed by the prosecutor in this case.  At this point we are reviewing the charges and working with our legal counsel to determine an appropriate course of action moving forward.  As this is a matter that pertains to personnel, we will not be able to discuss anything further publicly or make any public statements.  Thank you for your understanding and cooperation."

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