A “Teacher of the Year” has been arrested at a San Diego County school on multiple charges of child sex abuse and child pornography, according to reports.
Jacqueline Ma, a 34-year-old sixth-grade teacher at Lincoln Acres Elementary School in National City, was arrested Thursday.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said Ma faces 14 charges relating to possession of child pornography, sexual exploitation of a child, and “preventing or dissuading a witness or victim,” according to KNSD.
On Tuesday, Ma had been arrested on three counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 and three counts of oral copulation with a child under 14, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.
Ma had been out on bail from the first set of charges when the second set was filed.
Her first arrest took place on school grounds, according to KNSD.
Aileen Carillo said her younger brother had been a student of Ma’s and described the teacher’s communication with him as “over the top,” according to the New York Post.
“She would go to my brother’s games in Tijuana every weekend,” Carillo said.
“She went to one of his birthday parties, everything.
“Honestly, I used to tell my mom, ‘Why is she always texting my brother?’
“And she had contact, too, but the way she was always checking in with my brother, I thought it was nice at first, like she really cares, but I’ve had a lot of impactful teachers that didn’t have to be that close,” she said.
Ma was named one of five 2022-2023 San Diego County Teachers of the Year in a contest sponsored by Cox.
She said after being awarded the honor that she “considers the relationships she maintains with her students her greatest accomplishments.” according to KNSD.
Superintendent Leighangela Brady released a statement on Ma’s second arrest.
“While this entire situation is indeed deeply troubling, we appreciate that law enforcement is dedicating resources to secure the facts and keeping our school district and community informed of their progress,” the statement said.
“We know that our entire school community is as stunned as we were by this news.
“I want to confirm to our school community that the employee is on leave and will not be returning to the campus.
“I am grateful to our entire school community for facing this situation with a shared commitment to do all that we can to maintain our children’s education without interruption.”
National City police said they began their investigation after a parent of a 13-year-old voiced a concern that the child may have been having an inappropriate relationship with a former teacher.
Police did not reveal when the alleged abuse took place.
Parent Sonia Gutierrez, whose son attends third grade, said Ma had been at the school since 2013, according to KSWB-TV.
“I just hope it doesn’t repeat itself or there’s no more children because if there was that one, there could be more,” she said.
“We don’t know. They might be scared to tell.”