A Florida middle school teacher had a two-year sexual relationship with a female student that included secret encounters in her classroom, deputies said.
Hayley Morgan Hallmark, a 35-year-old teacher and soccer coach at C.W. Ruckel Middle School in Niceville, was arrested Friday on a charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a student by an authority figure.
The victim, who is now 17, told investigators Thursday she was an eighth-grader at the school when she and Hallmark started trading text messages in August 2017, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said.
A year later, the pair then started “sexting” when the student, then 15, began ninth grade — with Hallmark and the girl trading nude photographs and talking about cuddling on Snapchat, an arrest report shows.
The teen also told investigators she and Hallmark performed sex acts on each other at the middle school when she helped the educator coach the soccer team after school, the report shows.
“[The teen] 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,” according to the report obtained by The Post.
The teen said she and Hallmark also performed various sex acts on each other at both of their homes, the arrest report shows.
A search of the teen’s phone backed up her claims and confirmed an “inappropriate relationship” between she and Hallmark, which lasted until August 2020, authorities said.
Hallmark was placed administrative leave Thursday, one day before a warrant was issued for her arrest, sheriff officials said.
The district’s superintendent will recommend that Hallmark be suspended without pay as her criminal case proceeds, the Northwest Florida Daily News reported.
“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, and we expect our employees’ conduct to be consistent with that priority.”
Hallmark, of Destin, is listed in jail records as Hayley Morgan Close. She remained held on $20,000 bond at the Okaloosa County Jail as of early Monday, online records show. It’s unclear if she’s hired an attorney who could speak on her behalf.
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