A National City teacher who won “Teacher of the Year” last August was arrested and booked into county jail for her “inappropriate relationship” with a 13-year-old former student, police said.
Jacqueline Ma, 34, was a teacher at Lincoln Acres Elementary School in National City, just south of San Diego, where she taught fifth and sixth grades.
But on Monday, a “concerned parent” contacted the National City Police Department saying he feared Ma was treating his 13-year-old son inappropriately, according to a news release.
It took detectives just a day to develop probable cause to arrest the teacher.
She was booked into jail on “numerous felony charges” but was released after being released on bail, according to police.
Detectives continued to investigate and re-arrested Ma on Thursday, charging her with additional felonies in the case.
She is now being held without bail at the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Center.
Police did not release details of Ma’s alleged crimes, noting that the victim in the case is still a minor.
The teacher is charged with seven counts of possession of child pornography, as well as four counts of sexual exploitation of a child.
She is also charged with two counts of committing lascivious or lascivious acts with a child.
Finally, Ma is accused of trying to dissuade a witness from testifying.
School board superintendent Leighangela Brady told a school board meeting Wednesday that the community was trying to process the “unthinkable situation.”
Ma had been a teacher in the National School District since 2013 and had a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in education, both from UC San Diego, according to its “Teacher of the Year.” profile in the San Diego Union Tribune.
The award was announced last year by the San Diego County Office of Education.
Her colleagues at the time said she was instrumental in helping Lincoln Acres Elementary adjust to using technology for instruction during the pandemic.
“I couldn’t have survived without her as far as virtual learning goes,” teacher Cynthia Valle-Lone said at the time.