A Hialeah teacher was arrested Friday for allegedly engaging in inappropriate and abusive sexual behavior with at least three underage students over the course of several years.
41-year-old Jeanette Valle-Tejeda is facing various charges of child abuse, sexual battery and committing sex acts with a minor. She'd been employed with Miami-Dade County public schools for twenty years.
Police were first alerted to the case when one of Valle-Tejeda's victims alerted the principal at Hialeah Senior High School, where Valle-Tejeda currently works.
The victim said that Valle-Tejeda had sexually molested her when she was a student at Henry H. Filer Middle School in 2009, and the abuse had continued for four years through her time at Westland Hialeah Senior High.
According to an arrest report, Valle-Tejeda "groomed the victim as a mother figure, providing financial assistance and other needs." The victim frequently slept overnight at the teacher's house.
The two would shower together, engage in sexual acts, and skip class time together, the arrest report said. An investigation found that they had missed school on 11 of the same days.
During this time, they would reportedly go to the beach, restaurants, or Valle-Tejeda's house. Valle-Tejeda would allegedly sign the student out of school without her mother's permission and frequently excuse her from class.
Other witnesses and victims told police that Valle-Tejeda had a similar relationship with multiple students, often using the technique of appearing as a mother figure in order to cement her relationship with them.
A second victim said that the abuse lasted for three years, with much of the inappropriate activity taking place on school grounds. Valle-Tejeda reportedly asked her for phone sex and instructed her to masturbate over text, reminding her constantly to delete the conversations afterwards.
A parent also complained in 2018 that Valle-Tejeda had invited several students over to her house and offered them alcohol. One witness told police it was known among her classmates that Valle-Tejeda's house was a "hang out" spot.
A third victim said that when she was 17, she'd spend time at nightclubs, bars and restaurants with Valle-Tejeda, eventually choosing to stop spending time with her at her house because Valle-Tejeda would reportedly become intoxicated.
"Miami-Dade County Public Schools is deeply disturbed about the allegations made against this individual," MDCPS said in a statement.
"As soon as the claims surfaced last month, the employee was removed from the school setting and Miami-Dade Schools Police launched an investigation. The District will be terminating her employment and she will be prevented from seeking future work with this school system."
"She just does not strike me as that kind of a person," said a neighbor, Greg Blewett. "I’ve never seen kids over here alone with her. I’ve never seen anything out of the ordinary."
Police took Valle-Tejeda into custody on Friday at a traffic stop on West 65th Street and West 4th Avenue. She was transported to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.