2023 ‘Teacher of the Year’ arrested for lewd acts with students

This week, Jacqueline Ma, a 34-year-old teacher at Lincoln Acres Elementary School in National City, California and recipient of a “Teacher of the Year” award, was arrested by police for suspected sexual abuse against a former student. Ma was initially taken into custody on Tuesday for three counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 and oral copulation with a child under 14, but further investigation led to her re-arrest on Thursday on fourteen additional felony charges.

The parent of a 13-year-old contacted National City police Monday evening with suspicions of an inappropriate relationship between their child and the former teacher. National School District Superintendent, Leighangela Brady, mentioned that the district is only aware of one victim and is taking the necessary steps to prioritize the students’ safety.

Ms. Ma had worked at the school since 2013 and was recognized as a “Teacher of the Year” for the 2022-2023 school year. Principal of Lincoln Acres Elementary School, Kathy Melanese, commended Ma’s award and praised her creativity, initiative, collaboration, and dedication to her students.

The fourteen counts for which Ma was re-arrested include two lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, seven counts of possession of child pornography, four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, and one count of prevention and dissuading of a witness, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s jail log.