In April 2021, Marka Bodine, 32, was arrested and charged with continuous sexual abuse of a minor—a first-degree felony—and an improper relationship between a student and educator—a second-degree felony.  

According to an affidavit obtained by KPRC, the victim was a student in Bodine’s sixth-grade English class in the Tomball Independent School District. The teacher first connected with the boy through Fortnite, an online video game, and later began texting increasingly explicit content, which culminated in a sexual relationship after the boy turned 13.  

The abuse came to light when Bodine told her school principal that she was being harassed by a former student, who was threatening to harm himself. Police searched both phones and found explicit messages and images from Bodine to the student.

Shortly after being arrested, Bodine admitted to engaging in a sexual relationship with the student for three years. She also moved into the boy’s apartment complex within that time.

Prosecutors called for a sentence of 20-40 years in prison. However, Harris County Judge George Glass handed Bodine her sentence Tuesday—60 days in prison and 10 years probation. 

Nevertheless, Bodine will not serve the two-month sentence immediately because she just had a baby, which police say is not the child of the student. However, she will be required to register as a sex offender.   

Several citizens have expressed outrage at the lenient sentence, with one citizen calling it “a slap on the wrist for a sick individual,” while another argues that “probation shouldn’t be an option for child molesters.”

Some wonder if her gender had something to do with her sentence, with one citizen commenting that a “male teacher would have gotten 25+ [years].” 

This disturbing case is sadly one of many, highlighting an ongoing issue in public education of improper student-teacher relationships and the sexualization of children.

Juliana Berg

Juliana is a summer fellow for Texas Scorecard. She is studying political science and philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin. She enjoys learning about the philosophies that shape America.