WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A former teacher in Leander Independent School District was arrested Tuesday on charges of having an improper relationship with a Vandegrift High School student whom she met at a church where she volunteered.
At the end of October, the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office began investigating an alleged sexual assault and improper relationship involving Cedar Park Middle School’s sixth-grade teacher Nicole Marie Faires Andrews. She was arrested on Dec. 12 after authorities said she had an ongoing romantic relationship with a 16-year-old boy she met at The Church at Canyon Creek, where she was a volunteer youth administrator.
Records show Andrews, 31, started teaching English/Language Arts at Cedar Park Middle School in August of 2015. The district said she resigned on Nov. 6, 2017.
According to court documents, the boy admitted that Andrews had sexual contact with him 11 or 12 times, as well as sending a naked photo of herself, over the summer.
In a letter sent home to parents and students at Cedar Park Middle School, Principal Sandra Stewart said they were notified of Andrews’ possible relationship with a high school student on Oct. 25. She was placed on administrative leave the same day pending an investigation by law enforcement. The district said the encounters never took place at a Leander ISD function or facility.
Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park, says Senate Bill 7 — which went into effect on Sept. 1 — is working to combat the trend of inappropriate relationships between teachers and students, regardless of whether they both attend schools in a particular district.
“We need to make sure that it not only handled issues that were inside one school district, but between school districts,” said Rep. Dale. “We’ve put stricter penalties in place for non-compliance, stricter penalties in place for not reporting, and also for the people that perpetrate these crimes, they can lose their pensions, as well.”
Dale says that’s all in addition to criminal penalties.
“One of the reasons I got involved in this whole issue is not just because I’m a parent and someone that thinks adults should leave kids alone, but I represent two school districts that have had these problems. But it’s not just my school district, it’s all over the state, and sadly, it’s all over the country, as well. It’s important to protect kids,” added Dale.
According to the Texas Education Agency, the agency currently opened a case on Andrews on Nov. 21.
Between Sept. 1 through Nov. 30, 2017, the TEA has opened 68 cases involving an inappropriate relationship with a student or minor, so far for the fiscal year 2017-2018.
The senior pastor of The Church at Canyon Creek, Monty Watson, said in a statement, “Our hearts go out to the victim and the family, and we ask for prayer for all involved. We are working with the authorities and fully cooperating with this investigation.”
Andrews has been charged with sexual assault of a child, which is a second-degree felony.