A California sixth grade teacher has been charged with three counts of sexual abuse of a minor after allegedly engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a former student.
Jacqueline Ma, 34, was arrested Tuesday morning at Lincoln Acres Elementary School in National City, a suburb of San Diego. In a statement, police said that “both law enforcement and our site staff collaborated to ensure that student learning and the campus climate were not interrupted.”
According to the Daily Mail, after being arrested Ma was transported to Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility, where she is currently held on $100,000 bond.
Ma was charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under fourteen, and three counts of oral copulation with a child under fourteen. As NBC San Diego reports, authorities have only been made aware of one alleged victim, and no further information regarding the timing of the acts in question has been disclosed.
“We know that our entire school community is as stunned as we were by this news,” District Superintendent Leighangela Brady said in a statement. “The district will cooperate with law enforcement and cannot comment any further on the pending investigation. We will continue to do everything possible to keep our students' safety, needs, and education first and foremost.”
In 2022, Ma was voted one of San Diego County's five “teachers of the year,” with San Diego County schools superintendent Dr. Paul Gothold calling the recipients “innovative in what they do and passionate about the students they serve.”
Ma's biography stated that she “considers the relationships she maintains with her students her greatest accomplishments.”
In addition, “she has spearheaded a schoolwide STEM improvement plan, bringing in outside organizations – including the Salk Institute, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the Fleet Science Center, and the San Diego Zoo,” and worked on “providing opportunities for students to interact with professionals doing the work to better visualize a path to a rewarding STEM career.”
Ma set to appear in court on March 9.