An award-winning California elementary school teacher was arrested on Tuesday and charged with sexually abusing a student at the San Diego school where she taught.
Jacqueline Ma, who taught sixth grade at Lincoln Acres Elementary School, was charged with six counts of sexual misconduct, including three counts of oral copulation with a child under 14 and three counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14.
The 34-year-old was one of five San Diego teachers selected for Teacher of the Year in 2022. According to her LinkedIn page, she has worked at the school since 2013.
It is believed that there was only one victim of Ma’s robbery. Police said the student no longer attended the school where Ma taught and it was unclear how the abuse came to light.
Jacqueline Ma has been charged three times with oral copulation with a child under the age of 14
Ma taught sixth grade at Lincoln Acres Elementary School south of San Diego
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department said Ma was arrested around 8 a.m. Tuesday in front of the students.
“Both law enforcement and our on-site staff have worked together to ensure student learning and the campus climate are not disrupted,” the department said in a statement.
“We can confirm that the student is no longer attending our school and we assure you that we will do everything we can to assist in the investigation.”
Police said Ma was “arrested on charges of having a physically inappropriate relationship with a former student.”
Ma was taken to the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility after her arrest, where she was placed on $100,000 bail.
She is due in court on March 9th.
Ma, 34, was one of five San Diego teachers selected for 2022’s Teacher of the Year. According to her LinkedIn page, she has worked at the school since 2013
District Superintendent Leigangela Brady confirmed the arrest in a statement to NBC 7.
Brady also confirmed that there was only one known victim and that they were no longer attending school.
“We know our entire school community is just as stunned by this news as we are. The county will be cooperating with law enforcement and has no further comment on the pending investigation,” Brady said in a statement.
“We will continue to do everything we can to keep the safety, needs and education of our students first.”
According to Brady, the school is hiring a substitute teacher to replace Ma.
When she was named Teacher of the Year in 2022, an awards profile for Ma said that she “considers the relationships she has with her students as her greatest achievement,” according to NBC 7.