Investigators are calling it a "horrific" child abuse case.
Three Scioto County residents--Juan Carlos Sanchez, 44, Bobbi Sue Pack, 31, and Edwina Louis, 52,--were arrested earlier this week and face child endangerment charges for what detectives say the three did to three of Pack’s children.
Detectives say the adults tied the children to their beds with ropes and chains in their Wheelersburg home and also forced the children to go long stretches without eating.
The action of an online teacher to notify authorities about the abuse is drawing praise from the online education community.
Detectives with the Scioto County Sherriff's Office say the children were online students of Ohio Virtual Academy.
One of the children messaged her online teacher to tell them that she and her siblings were being abused. That is when detectives say the teacher contacted authorities.
"We are so very proud of this teacher, absolutely,” said Shannon Bozigar, professional development and training coordinator with Ohio Virtual Academy.
Neither the school nor the sheriff’s office is releasing the teacher's name.
But Bozigar says the teacher had been through the same child abuse prevention training that all teachers at the school are required to receive.
"We take time to train not only in child safety and violence prevention but in all areas to keep really the core of our mission which is educating students and keeping them safe,” Bozigar said.
What the Ohio Virtual Academy teacher did in notifying authorities is drawing praise from other e-schools across the state such as Columbus-based ECOT.
"I would hope that all of our teachers would handle the situation the same way that this teacher did,” said Rick Teeters, ECOT Superintendent.
Teeters says ECOT teachers go through an initial child abuse prevention training program and refresher courses every three years.
He says ECOT teachers are required to contact students a minimum of ten times a day, establishing opportunities for students to open up.
"Sometimes I think that students, through our secure messaging center, actually will tell us more than they would in a face-to-face situation where there may be peer pressure,” Teeters said.
Bozigar says students and teachers at Ohio Virtual Academy develop close relationships similar to those at ECOT.
"I think that the reason why this situation is going to have a positive result is because of the relationship that this particular student had with this staff member,” Bozigar said.
State law requires teachers to go through child abuse prevention training. Here is what the Ohio Revised Code says about this training.
OHIO REVISED CODE 3319.073
(A) The board of education of each city and exempted village school district and the governing board of each educational service center shall adopt or adapt the curriculum developed by the department of education for, or shall develop in consultation with public or private agencies or persons involved in child abuse prevention or intervention programs, a program of in-service training in the prevention of child abuse, violence, and substance abuse and the promotion of positive youth development. Each person employed by any school district or service center to work in a school as a nurse, teacher, counselor, school psychologist, or administrator shall complete at least four hours of the in-service training within two years of commencing employment with the district or center, and every five years thereafter. A person who is employed by any school district or service center to work in an elementary school as a nurse, teacher, counselor, school psychologist, or administrator on March 30, 2007, shall complete at least four hours of the in-service training not later than March 30, 2009, and every five years thereafter. A person who is employed by any school district or service center to work in a middle or high school as a nurse, teacher, counselor, school psychologist, or administrator on October 16, 2009, shall complete at least four hours of the in-service training not later than October 16, 2011, and every five years thereafter.