BURBANK - A Burbank middle school teacher who turned herself in to authorities after feeling guilty about an alleged sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student will be arraigned today in Burbank Superior Court.
Amy V. Beck, 33, a sixth-grade English and social sciences teacher at David Starr Jordan Middle School, will be arraigned on four counts of unlawful sex with a person under 16, and one count of oral copulation with a person under 16.
Beck turned herself in at the Burbank police station Monday, telling authorities she had been having "an inappropriate sexual relationship" with one of her male students from March to September of 2009, said Sgt. Robert Quesada of the Burbank Police Department.
Investigators confirmed the story with the student.
"She just came in because she was feeling guilty and the guilt had been bothering her so much that she had to get it off her chest," Quesada said.
"The detectives knew that that's why she came in, to relieve that guilt that she's been carrying since last year."
She was booked into Burbank Police City Jail on Monday and was being held on $400,000 bail.
Beck's arrest came just days after she resigned from the school with a short letter that gave no indication of why she was leaving, according to Gabe Soumakian, assistant superintendent for human resources for the Burbank Unified School District.
The student, now 15, is no longer at the school, Soumakian said. School officials have found a substitute teacher to finish the rest of the year.
News of the arrest spread quickly Tuesday at the middle school, where incredulous students swapped the latest information on the former teacher. Many described Beck as a nice teacher who often talked about her three children and her husband, a police officer. Some even said she was their favorite.
"She was really awesome and helpful and stuff," said an eighth-grade student who was in Beck's class as a sixth-grader. "She was really cool. I didn't think she could have done it."
Several parents expressed shock that the alleged crime could have occurred at the school, which has consistently performed well academically.
"It's scary," said Jessica Sefchick, who was waiting to pick up her child. "Bad things happen all the time and I definitely try to keep my kids sheltered and safe, but this always kind of throws me because it seems to be happening everywhere."
"That's very disturbing," said William Delacerda, whose son is a sixth-grade student at the school. "Hopefully the situation gets resolved and hopefully there's more scrutiny on the teachers. Hopefully they'll take steps to prevent it from happening again."
One neighbor in Beck's tree-lined Burbank neighborhood of single-family homes could not believe the news when told by a reporter.
"I guess you really never know your neighbors, do you?" said a nearby homeowner who asked not to be named. The neighbor, who mostly spoke with Beck's husband, said the Becks were a nice family.
Burbank police asked anyone with information about the case to contact Detective Wally Schilling at 818-238-3254.