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September 30, 2014

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School police say parent’s inquiry about inappropriate relationship led to arrest of sub

Updated Thursday, March 13, 2014 | 3:10 p.m.

Tanikka Queen

Tanikka Queen

For the second time this academic year, a Clark County School District teacher is under arrest, accused of an inappropriate relationship with a student.

CCSD Police Sgt. Mitch Maciszak, in a news conference this morning, said Tanikka S. Queen, 22, was arrested Tuesday on counts including luring a child with sexual intent, open and gross sexual lewdness and kidnapping. The counts, Maciszak said, are related to a relationship the long-term substitute teacher had with a 15-year-old Hyde Park Middle School student over a period of less than two weeks in February.

A concerned parent alerted district officials about a possible inappropriate teacher-student relationship on Feb. 26. The subsequent investigation led to Queen's arrest.

District officials said Queen had been teaching as a substitute in the district for about 13 months. She has not been allowed back in the classroom or on the Hyde Park campus, which is in the southwest valley, since the investigation began.

A police arrest report detailed a burgeoning relationship that began with Queen tutoring the student during lunch. The report indicates the following:

Queen and the student began dating around Valentine’s Day. During a 12-day period, Queen would often pick the student up near his home and take him to Lorenzi Park, where they would display their affection for one another.

At one point, the student’s father said the teen came home with a hickie on his neck, which the boy said came from Bella (Queen). On another day, the father said his son did not get home until 7 p.m. because he was “hanging out with Bella.”

The father said he did not know Bella was Queen and had not given consent for their relationship.

During their time together, Queen and the teen exchanged more than 2,400 text messages, called each other 108 times and sent each other 38 cellphone photos. In the texts, they often discussed dates, declared their love for one another and expressed concern about revealing their relationship.

On Feb. 13, Queen asked the student to give her a nickname on his phone and acknowledged that the relationship could get her in trouble, the report said.

“(Name redacted) You should know how I feel by now,” Queen wrote in one text.

“I’m serious (name redacted),” she followed up. “I’m putting my job on the line talking to you so how can I not be serious.”

Queen in an interview with CCSD Police initially denied the relationship, claiming the boy only had a crush on her and that she was helping him with math. In a follow-up interview Tuesday, she admitted to kissing and dating the student but denied any sexual relationship.

Maciszak said district police were fairly confident Queen had not been engaged in other relationships with students, but he said police continued their investigation of the substitute.

Queen remains jailed in the Clark County Detention Center without bail. The Clark County District Attorney's Office has not officially charged Queen with any crimes.

This past fall, police arrested Melvyn Perry Sprowson Jr., 45, who had started teaching kindergarten at Wengert Elementary School in August. Accused of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old runaway student, Sprowson is awaiting trial in Clark County District Court on one count of first-degree kidnapping and five counts of unlawful use of a minor over 14 in production of pornography.

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