A school teacher conducted a two-year sexual relationship with one of her students that began when the girl was just 14, according to a police report.
Hayley Morgan Hallmark, 35, was arrested Friday, February 5, on a charge of “lewd and lascivious conduct with a student by an authority figure”.
Pending the investigation Hallmark has been suspended without pay from her job as Social Studies teacher at C.W. Ruckel Middle School in Niceville, Florida, where she also coaches the girls’ soccer team.
The victim, who is now 17, told investigators that she was in the eighth grade – the equivalent of Year 9 in the UK – when Hallmark began a personal friendship with her, and they started texting regularly in August 2017.
Within a year, the friendship had taken on a sexual tone, with pupil and teacher trading intimate photos and Snapchat messages where they fantasised about “cuddling.”
Soon, fantasy became reality, with the pair performing sexual acts on each other after soccer practise at the school, and later in classrooms and at both their homes.
According to a court report quoted in the New York Post : “[The victim] explained the defendant and she would perform these acts in the classroom by tilting the classroom cameras away and leaning against the classroom door so no one could enter.”
Evidence obtained from the victim’s phone corroborates her allegations of a sexual relationship that appears to have come to an end in August last year.
“Okaloosa County teachers represent the highest standard of professionalism, ethics, and morality,” Superintendent Marcus Chambers said in a written statement.
“When an educator fails to live up to that high standard, we’re all impacted."
"Student safety and well-being is our highest priority," he added, "and we expect our employees’ conduct to be consistent with that priority.”
Hallmark, who was named the 2011 Escambia County Social Studies Teacher of the Year, does not yet appear to have engaged an attorney to defend her case in court.
She is is currently being held on $20,000 bond at the Okaloosa County Jail.
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