A Lubbock area teacher has been placed on administrative leave after reports of an inappropriate relationship with a child. The Lubbock Police Department was made aware on November 27 of a possible inappropriate relationship between an Irons Middle School teacher and a minor.

Lubbock Independent School District released a statement on December 7 stating that the allegations were being taken very seriously and that the employee, James Tapley, was place on administrative leave. Tapley was arrested by the Lubbock Police Department on December 7 and charged with Online Solicitation of a Minor Under 14 and Improper Relationship Between an Educator/Student.

Lubbock County Detention Center
Lubbock County Detention Center

Lubbock ISD did release statement in regards to Tapley's arrest.

To the Irons Middle School community:

We are writing to inform you of a deeply concerning incident involving a member of our faculty. James Tapley, a former teacher at Irons Middle School, was arrested tonight by the Lubbock Police Department on charges related to online solicitation and improper relationship between an educator and student. 

First and foremost, our priority remains the safety and well-being of our students. Upon learning of the investigation, Tapley was immediately placed on administrative leave on November 28, pending the outcome of the legal process.

We recognize that news of this nature can be distressing and raise concerns among our students, parents, and staff. Please be assured that the alleged activities do not reflect the values and standards of Irons Middle School or Lubbock ISD. We are committed to maintaining an environment where all students can learn and grow in a safe, respectful, and nurturing environment.

We understand that this news is upsetting, and it may raise questions and concerns. We encourage parents to have open conversations with their children about internet safety and to report any concerns they may have about online interactions. Counseling services are also available to any student or staff member who may need support. Please email the Executive Director of Counseling and College/Career Readiness Charlotte Sessom at charlotte.sessom@LubbockISD.org or contact campus counseling staff for assistance.

There are no words strong enough to express our deep disappointment and extreme outrage at this violation of professional and ethical conduct we expect of our teachers. In times like these, the strength and unity of our community is more important than ever. We remain dedicated to providing a safe, supportive, and nurturing learning environment for all our students.

As per the writing of this article, Tapley is currently being held on a $600,000 bond at the Lubbock County Detention Center. Tapley's resignation was accepted by the school and he is no longer associated with Lubbock ISD.

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