An award-winning elementary school teacher from California was arrested this week for allegedly sexually abusing a former student, according to police.
Jacqueline Ma, a 34-year-old sixth-grade teacher at Lincoln Acres Elementary School in National City, was charged with 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 San Diego County Sheriff’s Department records obtained by NBC 7.
National City Police said they were contacted by a concerned mother of a 13-year-old former student of Ma’s, who suspected her child was “possibly having an inappropriate relationship” with the teacher.
On Tuesday, she was arrested on the school campus around 8 a.m., but not near any students, District Superintendent Leighangela Brady told NBC 7 in a statement.
Brady said that the district was only aware of one victim, who is no longer a student in the district.
“We know that our entire school community is as stunned as we were by this news. 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,” Brady said in a statement.
The district was working to find a replacement for Ma, Brady said.
Ma was booked into Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility, cops said.
It’s not clear when the abuse occurred. Police have not released additional information due to the victim’s age and ongoing investigation.
Ma was one of five teachers who received Cox Communication’s 2022-2023 ‘San Diego County Teacher of the Year” award.
In a profile about winning her award, Ma said she “considers the relationships she maintains with her students her greatest accomplishments,” according to NBC7.
Many Lincoln Acres parents told NBC 7 that they thought Ma had a great connection with her students, however, some noticed some red flags.
Aileen Carillo told the news outlet that her young brother was Ma’s former student and she was “over the top” in her communications with him.
“She would go to my brother’s games in Tijuana every weekend. She went to one of his birthday parties, everything,” Carillo said. “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.”
Ma is expected in court on March 14.