Monday, June 6, 2016

Instagram message leads to relationship

A Houston middle school teacher who police say had a long term relationship with a thirteen year old former student and who was impregnated by him, turned herself in to Police. The strange thing about this relationship is, the parents of the student appeared to be okay with it, and even let the boy stay with Vera overnight.

Court documents allege she was introduced to his family as the boy's girlfriend, and the woman said that his parents supported the relationship and invited her to family gatherings. She reportedly said she told a school district investigator the family was "very supportive and excited" when she disclosed her pregnancy. She allegedly said she and the boy "love each other."

The whole thing has been highly destructive to Vera's life, and it's hard to say why, given that the boy and his parents both consented and approved, and Vera was a willing participant.

Both the teacher and the boy are Hispanic, which is important since in traditional Mexican culture, teenagers are allowed to have relationships, and couples where the woman is older than the man are commonplace and not denigrated.

Vera said the relationship began in September, and said she and the 13-year-old were in love. This according to court documents obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

Vera told Aldine school district police that she met the boy in 2015, during summer school. The boy asked for her Instagram name, which she says initially she refused to give him. He later found her, and she rejected his "friend" request.

When school resumed in the fall, Vera said the boy flirted with her and made comments that were "unprofessional." The student eventually asked if they could "hang out" and she agreed. Vera told police when she picked up the boy, they would kiss in the car and later had sex at his parents' house, with the boy's parents full knowledge and consent.

She met the boy's parents at a school open house in October, then went drove the boy to his home. He introduced her as his girlfriend to the parents, new immigrants who completely accepted the relationship as they would have in their native Mexico, according to the documents.

Documents state the sexual encounters continued on an almost daily basis. Vera told police that the boy often spent the night at her apartment, and that she'd drive him home in the morning so he could catch the bus.

She told police that she became pregnant in January and that the family was supportive and excited about the baby, documents state.

She said she decided to have an abortion after Child Protective Services showed up at the school in February to ask about her relationship with the boy. She later denied the pregnancy and the relationship to CPS. It is ironic that the only real victim in this story, is Vera's unborn baby.

Vera voluntarily gave her phone to officials, in order to prove that messages the couple exchanged, supported Vera's story.

Neighbors told KHOU-TV that teenage boys were often at Vera's home in Spring, where she lived with her young daughter.

In a statement from Aldine ISD provided to the Chronicle, district officials said Vera was immediately fired in April and placed on administrative leave after allegations were made.

"Aldine ISD police investigated the incident and turned their findings over to the Harris County district attorney's office," the statement reads. "The safety and security of Aldine ISD's students and staff remains a priority of the school district."

Stovall Middle School made headlines in 2014 when a teacher was accused of giving a student a lap dance on his birthday. She was ultimately sentenced to probation. The boy was sentenced to five years of hand slaps from his male student colleagues.


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