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Posted: March 22, 2017

Teacher accused of improper relationship with student smiles in mugshot

Caldwell County Jail, Lockhart Police Department
Sarah Fowlkes (Credit: Caldwell County Jail, Lockhart Police Department)

By Melissa B. Taboada, Austin American-Statesman

LOCKHART, Texas —

A 27-year-old science teacher at a Texas high school has been arrested after being accused of having an improper relationship with a student, the Lockhart school district announced Monday.

>> UPDATE: Teacher accused of improper relationship smiled because she is innocent, lawyer says

Lockhart High School teacher Sarah Fowlkes, a school district employee since October 2014, also was suspended from her job. The district said it was alerting the State Board for Educator Certification about the case.

The district said it first received a report about the relationship on March 10, before the start of spring break, and alerted Lockhart police and Child Protective Services. Police said the student was 17 years old.

>> Read more trending news

“Lockhart parents entrust their children to us every day, and it is something we do not take lightly,” Superintendent Susan Bohn said in a statement. “The district does not and will not tolerate any improper communication or contact between a teacher and child.”

Bohn emailed Lockhart High parents on Monday to notify them of the arrest and Fowlkes’ suspension. The superintendent also asked parents to speak with their children about what happened.

Caldwell County Jail, Lockhart Police Department
Sarah Fowlkes (Credit: Caldwell County Jail, Lockhart Police Department)

“If any student or parent has information about this situation, please contact the Lockhart Police Department at 512-398-4401,” Bohn wrote. Counselors also would be available at the high school for support, she said.

Fowlkes, who grew up in Dripping Springs, taught anatomy and physiology and environmental systems, according to a cached webpage that has since been deleted from the district’s website. According to the webpage, Fowlkes earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from St. Edwards University and went through the UTeach program at the University of Texas before earning an alternative teaching certification. She previously was a third- and fifth-grade science and social studies teacher at Plum Creek Elementary in the district.


Related

Teacher accused of improper relationship smiled because she is innocent, lawyer says

Why did a Texas teacher accused of having an improper relationship with a student smile in her mugshot? Her lawyer has offered an explanation.

According to Dallas-Fort Worth's KXAS, Jason Nassour, attorney for Lockhart High School anatomy teacher Sarah Fowlkes, said she was grinning because she's innocent.

>> On Statesman.com: Lockhart High teacher accused of improper relationship with student

"This isn't a guilty person sitting there like they just got caught," Nassour told KXAS. "When everything's fleshed out, it won't be as it appears."

Lockhart police began investigating the incident March 10 after a school administrator reported that "an educator at the school may be having an inappropriate relationship with a currently enrolled student," according to the arrest affidavit. A 17-year-old student claimed that Fowlkes, 27, touched his genitals and that he "made contact with the defendant's breasts," the affidavit said.

>> See the affidavit here

Fowlkes was arrested on a charge of "improper relationship between educator and student," police said. The school district also suspended Fowlkes, The Austin American-Statesman reported.

"Lockhart parents entrust their children to us every day, and it is something we do not take lightly," Lockhart Superintendent Susan Bohn said in a statement, the American-Statesman reported. "The district does not and will not tolerate any improper communication or contact between a teacher and child."

Bohn also alerted parents about the arrest and suspension in an email, the American-Statesman reported.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Teacher accused of improper relationship with student smiles in mugshot 

Nassour told KXAS that Fowlkes "was arrested on the statement of a 17-year-old kid with no corroborating evidence."

>> Read more trending news

According to the American-Statesman, Fowlkes, who taught anatomy and physiology and environmental systems at Lockhart High, previously taught science and social studies at Plum Creek Elementary School. The Houston Chronicle, citing Fowlkes' social media accounts, reported that she has been married since 2013.

Watch next: Parent upset with kindergarten teacher who used Ouija board in class

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