Spring teacher charged with sexually assaulting 16-year-old student

Spring teacher charged with sexually assaulting 16-year-old student

Credit: 11 News

Deanna Higgins


by By Allison Triarsi Katherine Whaley / 11 News


Posted on October 14, 2009 at 7:55 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 21 at 4:07 PM

SPRING, Texas-A teacher at Spring High School has been charged with improper relations between an educator and student and sexual assault of a child.

In a letter to parents posted on the Spring ISD Web site, administrators said the DA accepted charges against Deanna Higgins on Monday.

The then 16-year-old student was in her biology class.

Records show Higgins ex-husband first learned of the relationship when he found text messages from the student on Higgins' cell phone.

The teacher had given the phone to her son before a weekend visitation with his father.

Investigators questioned the alleged victim who told them he had sex with Higgins at her home and inside his pickup truck. The truck was parked outside Higgins' home while her three children slept inside, according to records.

Higgins allegedly left a pair of panties in the truck and the student turned them over to investigators.

Higgins, a 27-year-old teacher, was placed on paid administrative leave in September.

"The Spring High School Administration and Spring ISD Police Department immediately began investigating the allegation after receiving a report from a third party," the letter said.

Higgins was hired at the school in January 2008. ?

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Some students told 11 News they weren't surprised by the allegations.

"Actually, lots of people saw this coming," Spring High student Brooke Caravela said. "She was, like, very open, so it just seemed like she would do something like that. I think teachers need to get their heads screwed on straight - that's not right."

Others expressed shock that the teacher they knew could be accused of something so serious.

"It was surprising because she was like a sweet, nice teacher," student Devonddrick Pipkins said.

That's how Higgins described herself on her MySpace page, too - a dedicated teacher and mother of three.

But parents of some Spring High School students said they have little tolerance for what they believe is becoming an epidemic in their school district.

"Respect the children that have been put in their care to be taught, not to be used in such a way that's not right," parent Gloria Desantiago said.

Tuesday's letter also said a second teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave while a separate investigation is conducted.

"You may have heard rumors that another Spring High School teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave. It is true that a second teacher is on paid administrative leave while an investigation into a separate issue is in progress," the letter said.

No other details on that investigation have been released.

Desantiago believes it's time for Spring ISD to do its homework on the teachers they hire.

"Fire them as soon as they find out, and find out a little more before they hire them," she said.

Spring ISD issued the following statement late Tuesday: "Incidents involving improper relationships between teachers and students are not tolerated in Spring ISD. We have made it our practice to take allegations of this nature seriously. We will investigate thoroughly any report we receive and pursue criminal charges when appropriate."