A text message is leading to charges for a former Slaton teacher. 32-year-old Abelardo Tomas Mata was arrested on Tuesday and charged with "online solicitation of a minor." He is now free on a $30,000 bond.
Now, something as simple as a cell phone could be used in an online crime because of text messaging. In this case, Slaton police detective tells us Mata is accused of showing a 13-year-old female student an explicit text message.
On February 17th, a Slaton junior high school student walked into the principal's office and showed him a text message she says was sent by her teacher, 32-year-old Able Mata. "Actions of this nature in this or any other district are not good and we're not going to have them," said Slaton Superintendent Jim Taliaferro.
Cell phones and text messaging have become very popular with people of all ages. In this instance, police are saying a teacher text messaged a hidden code, but when you turn it upside-down, it becomes an inappropriate message.
"He (the principal) had pulled the teacher in talked to the teacher about actions that were inappropriate. And at that time the teacher was no longer with this district," said Taliaferro.
With the personnel change could come policy change as well. The superintendent tells us the district is currently reviewing its cell phone policies. "We don't use cell phones. This was a case where a cell phone was out during instruction time, shouldn't have been that way," he said.
Meanwhile, the State Board of Education is investigating Mata to see if they should revoke his teaching license. "What this means for him is it's in the state's hands, the district did what they needed to," explains Taliaferro.
NewsChannel 11 spoke with the 13-year-old victim's family Wednesday, who didn't want to appear on camera, but told us their daughter is having a very hard time at school, and has not been offered counseling. The family is currently talking to an attorney.
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