Shelby, North Carolina’s Emily Durden arrested days after teaching at Crest Middle School


Emily Durden, 19, of Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina, United States has been arrested. She is a former substitute teacher at Crest Middle School in Shelby.

On November 8, 2021, Durden started working as a substitute for Cleveland County Schools. On November 12, 2021, she started sharing inappropriate messages with her students.

On November 18, 2021, a parent of a Crest Middle School student told a school resource officer at Crest Middle School that Durden may have sent inappropriate images and videos to a child, according to the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators found out that she initiated conversations and shared sexually explicit materials with several children aged 13 or 14.


Although preference is given to licensed teachers, Cleveland County Schools explained that Durden was eligible to be in a substitute teaching role because she was older than 18 and she finished high school. She worked in a non-full time capacity and was paid $80 per day until November 17, 2021, according to the school district.

On November 18, 2021, Durden was arrested and charged with second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, indecent liberties with a student and display material harmful to a minor. She was booked into the Cleveland County jail in Shelby.

On November 19, 2021, Durden was released on $50,000 bond. She did admit to sending the sexually explicit videos and pictures to minors, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office announced on November 22, 2021.


Shelby is the county seat of Cleveland County. Chartered in 1843, the city named after Colonel Isaac Shelby, a hero of the battle of Kings Mountain during the American Revolution and the first and fifth governor of Kentucky, USA.

The film adaptation of Timothy B. Tyson‘s 2004 memoir “Blood Done Sign My Name” was filmed in Shelby. The reaping scene in the film adaptation of “The Hunger Games” was also filmed in the city.

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