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National City teacher accused of inappropriate relationship with student re-arrested

A Teacher of the Year accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a former student was rearrested Thursday, police said, after new evidence emerged in their ongoing investigation.

Jacqueline Ma was arrested on "additional felony charges" in the 3300 block of National Avenue after a "surveillance operation," the National City Police Department said in a statement. Ma was out on bail at the time. She was re-booked at Las Colinas Women's Detention Facility and held without bail.

After the initial arrest earlier this week, the superintendent was seen at Ma’s school, Lincoln Acres Elementary, providing support to distraught staff.


NCPD did not release any other information because the investigation is ongoing and the victim is a minor. But, according to records from the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, Ma faces 14 felony counts, including lewd or lascivious acts with a child, possession of child pornography, sexual exploitation of a child and witness tampering.

Ma was first arrested Tuesday morning after a parent contacted police with suspicions that Ma was having an inappropriate relationship with their 13-year-old child.

"We have a situation where the trust has been broken," said Dr. Joanna Savarese, a neuropsychologist and clinical psychologist. "It can, at our core and our foundation, worry us about our environment and where we're sending our children, and how are we going to trust the people in our lives who we are told to trust. And it does create a sense of distrust, a sense of fear, a sense of, of, of anger.”

Savarese said it was important for adults to address what happened with their children, for many reasons. First, because this can be traumatic to learn about, but also because chances are, they are already talking about it at school.

She said to start by checking in with them regularly and often.


"In order for kids to come to their parents, kids need to feel safe," she said. "When a child tells you about sexual abuse, children, for the most part, don't lie. It's very, very important that a parent listens and a parent believes the child." 

Savarese said the school also needed to address boundaries and what is okay and not okay with students and teachers.

"They don’t know if this is inappropriate; they don’t know if this is wrong," she said. "Kids don't know what they don't know."

In August, Ma was named Teacher of the Year for 2022-23 school year.

She is expected to be arraigned Monday in South County Superior Court in Chula Vista.

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