A now-former Spring Independent School District teacher was arrested and charged with an improper relationship with a student. 

Valerie Lauren Mata, 26, was a theater teacher at Dekaney High School. She was arrested after an investigation by Spring ISD police revealed an alleged sexual relationship between her and an 18-year-old student. 

According to the student, during his sophomore year, Mata would greet him with “hellos,” which later developed into “baby” or “sweetheart.” It was also revealed that Mata contacted the student’s friends to convince him to join her class.

Court records show that the student told investigators that he and Mata allegedly had an inappropriate relationship that involved sexual acts taking place at the school. The two also allegedly sent each other nude pictures. 

The student said the first one-on-one interaction between him and Mata was when he mistakenly sent her a sexually explicit text message that was meant for someone else. 

Later, Mata sent the student a text saying she was “tipsy” and asked if he wanted to have sex with her. 

Documents show that by the student’s senior year, their relationship became more sexual, with both exchanging sexually graphic photos and videos with one another. Mata would tell the student to delete the conversations and even advised him to change her contact name. 

During the investigation, police obtained security footage from the school showing Mata entering the rehearsal theater alone before the student entered. The student later told investigators that a sexual act had occurred at this time. 

The parents of the student’s friend learned of the conversations between Mata and the student and immediately reported what they found out to the school.

When confronted about the situation, Mata asked Spring ISD police detectives, “Does it make a difference it [sic] he is 18?” 

Indeed, it is a felony for teachers to engage in improper relationships with students, regardless of whether the student is 18.

Mata later resigned from her position on March 18.

Mata appeared in Court on Monday and was released on a $20,000 bond. 

Spring ISD released a statement to KPRC 2 News saying, “Over the Spring Break holiday, we were made aware of a report of inappropriate conduct between a Dekaney High School staff member and a student. Immediately upon returning on Monday, March 18, a conference was held with the staff member, and she subsequently resigned effective that same day.”

“An investigation into the allegations was promptly launched by both the Spring ISD Police Department and our Human Resources Department. Yesterday afternoon, the former staff member was arrested on a felony warrant issued by the Harris County DA’s Office,” continued district officials. “The district takes every allegation of educator misconduct seriously and will take all measures necessary to ensure that students are educated in safe and nurturing environments. This includes full cooperation with all law enforcement agencies to ensure justice is fully served.”

State records show that Mata’s teaching certificate is still valid; however, she is under investigation. 

Texas Scorecard has reported on dozens of teachers charged with sex crimes involving children.

Emily Medeiros

Emily graduated from the University of Oklahoma majoring in Journalism. She is excited to use her research and writing skills to report on important issues around Texas.