LILLINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) – An ex-teacher in Harnett County was arrested Wednesday for indecent liberties with a student, the sheriff’s office said.

The investigation began after the parents of a Harnett Central Middle School student filed a complaint against Shawn C. Hicks, 27. In all, three students were found to be victims of his, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

All incidents happened away from the school, deputies said.

Hicks, who is no longer employed by the school district, was charged with three counts of indecent liberties with a student. He was jailed on a $50,000 bond.

The district said Hicks worked as a science teacher at Harnett Central Middle School from Dec. 2016 to Feb. 25, 2022.

“While we cannot comment on specific personnel issues, Harnett County Schools has high expectations for the professionalism and conduct of its staff. HCS takes any concerns about staff conduct very seriously, and swiftly investigates and takes appropriate action when concerns are raised. The safety of our children is always our top priority,” a spokeswoman for the district said.

The news came as a shock to one high school parent, Miranda Cannon who spoke with CBS 17’s Maggie Newland.

“I can’t believe it. I mean I really can’t,” she said. 

Cannon’s daughter is now in high school, but she says Hicks was her science teacher in middle school.  “I asked her today was there anything inappropriate and she said ‘Of course not,'” Cannon said.

Jail records show Hicks has been released. CBS 17 went to Hicks’ listed address, but no one answered the door. A neighbor said he recently told her he was thinking of moving away.