ARLINGTON -- A teacher at Arlington's Newcomer Center is facing termination after she was arrested and jailed on a charge of having an improper relationship with a student, a second-degree felony.
Alison Withers, 38, of Mansfield was released from jail Feb. 5 after posting $5,000 bail.
Police said an officer spotted Withers and an 18-year-old student in a parked pickup in the 1400 block of East Lamar Boulevard on Feb. 4. According to a police report and a police official, the subjects were in a compromising position and engaged in offensive behavior in a public location.
The school board voted Feb. 17 to begin the termination process against Withers. Withers taught English at the Newcomer Center for junior high and high school-age foreign students who don't speak English and need help acclimating to a new culture. She is on paid administrative leave, said Arlington school district attorney Heather Castillo.
Withers' attorney, Reagan Wynn, said his firm is conducting an investigation.
"We are certain that the actual facts will be much different from the indication of what happened in that snippet from the police report," Wynn said. "We are not now in the position to make further comment. We think that when everything is said and done, it will be found that she did not commit a criminal violation."
Withers has acquired representation from another counsel, and it is expected that the matter of her job will be worked out in the next few days, Wynn said. Attempts to reach Withers by telephone were unsuccessful.
Withers started with the district in 2000 after earning a teaching permit in English as a second language. She received her first teaching certificate in 2001 in English and a second in 2006 in secondary physical education, according to the Texas Education Agency.
"Her certificate has been flagged, and she currently is under review by our professional discipline unit," said agency spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson. She said the possible disciplinary actions range from verbal reprimand to revocation of teaching certification. Although the student was not a minor, the statutes on improper student-teacher relationships do not consider age, Culbertson said.
School board President Gloria Pena declined to comment on the case because it's still in progress.
"The board has taken action, and that tells you what the board feels,'' Pena said.
Staff writer Mitch Mitchell contributed to this report.