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Former students say fired NKY teacher ‘masterminded’ his manipulation of young girls

The teacher, who worked at the school for 12 years, has been fired.
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 10:17 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (Enquirer/FOX19) - Two Highlands High School graduates have come forward to describe how exactly a teacher fired for inappropriate behavior allegedly preyed on his young female students.

Tommy “TJ” Lykins lost his job at the high school last month in the aftermath of two investigations that revealed inappropriate behavior including the borderline grooming of young women, according to our media partners at the Enquirer.

The two graduates spoke with FOX19 on the condition of anonymity.

The first graduate says Lykins masterminded a “form of manipulation” to become friendly with females in the classroom, even giving them gifts on their birthdays.

“He had a plan the whole entire time,” the second graduate said. “Freshman year, he would pick the girls that he liked, and he would work his way up. It would start from little comments about, ‘You’re gorgeous... You’re pretty,’ all the way to when you graduate, him asking for nudes.”

She continued: “He knew what he was doing. There [are] girls that have graduated five years before me and have stories. There [are] girls right now that have stories.”

Lykins worked at Highlands for 12 years as a math teacher. His personnel file reveals multiple complaints about his actions from parents, students and other teachers.

In October of 2020, the school district received tip line submissions and a separate parent report concerning Lykins’s actions. An investigation ensued.

Following the investigation, the district reported they could not substantiate sexual discrimination or harassment but found enough evidence that Lykins failed to maintain professional boundaries with students. Lykins denied the allegations, which are detailed in the Enquirer report.

The anonymous graduates say Lykins’ tactics included making students uncomfortable before crossing certain boundaries.

“A lot of times he would tell me about people, like, he had sex with, you know, not students,” the first graduate said. “Another time, he’d talk about how his friends watch porn.”

At times, the graduates say Lykins would make comments about their bodies. The first graduate details an incident after the summer going into her junior year when Lykins asked her if her breasts had grown.

Said the second graduate, “Freshman year, he would tell me that I wasn’t allowed to wear yoga pants in his class because he couldn’t help or control himself.”

Both graduates say Lykins contacted them after their graduation hoping to pursue some sort of intimate relationship.

“He did try to contact me on several occasions, asked me to go out with him, to, you know, take a chance on him, go on a date with him,” said the first student.

Lykins was placed on administrative leave without pay in November. After another investigation was launched into the claims against Lykins, his termination was recommended.

Now that he’s been fired, the young women say they hope he doesn’t become a teacher ever again.

“If he has these thoughts if he’s choosing which girls to prey on when they’re 15, 16 years old, I don’t think he needs to be around any child at all,” the second graduate said. “I think more needs to be done for sure. I don’t think just keeping him out of schools is going to stop his behavior.”

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