CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Hundreds of Chula Vista High School students rallied Wednesday morning in support of a popular teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage student.
The students lined the sidewalk in front of the high school before classes started. Many displayed signs supporting Terrance Lee Smith. Smith, 32, was nominated for one of San Diego County’s five “teacher of the year” awards this year, though he did not win.
Detectives arrested Smith at a Sweetwater Union High School District office Monday morning. The alleged victim contacted police earlier in the day to report the purported crimes, saying they occurred between 2006 and 2008, starting when she was 16, Chula Vista police Gary Wedge said.
Investigators believe that Smith, a ninth-grade English instructor, may have engaged in similar illegal acts with at least one other student, though no additional victims have been identified, he said.
Smith was booked into San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of 14 counts of sexual contact with a minor and was being held in lieu of $350,000 bail pending arraignment.