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Ruckel Middle School teacher charged having sexual relationship with student

Northwest Florida Daily News/USA TODAY NETWORK

Editor's note: This story has been updated to provide comment from the Okaloosa County School District.

NICEVILLE — A teacher and soccer coach at Ruckel Middle School has been arrested and charged with having a sexual relationship with a student, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office.

Hayley Hallmark, 35, was charged Friday with lewd and lascivious conduct with a student by an authority figure, a second-degree felony, according to a Sheriff's Office news release.

Hayley's alleged relationship with the student stretched from about August 2017 to August 2020, the Sheriff's Office reported. The student, a girl, was 15 years old when the relationship started.

Hayley Hallmark

The investigation began Thursday after the student confided to a teacher at Niceville High School, where she now attends, according to the Sheriff's Office. The information was then reported to the school's resource officer and the Okaloosa County School District placed Hallmark on administrative leave the same day.

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The girl described details of the relationship during an interview at the Children's Advocacy Center, according to Hayley's arrest report.

Sheriff's Investigators say the relationship allegedly began with texts and progressed to "sexting" before leading to multiple physical encounters in Hayley's classroom after school, at Hayley's home in Destin and at the girl's home in Niceville, the arrest report said.

An arrest warrant was issued and served Friday, and Hallmark was taken to the Okaloosa County Jail.

In a written statement, the Okaloosa County School District wrote that in accordance with its policy, the superintendent will recommend to the School Board that the employee be suspended without pay pending the outcome of investigations and/or criminal proceedings.

“Okaloosa County teachers represent the highest standard of professionalism, ethics, and morality,” Superintendent Marcus Chambers said in the statement. “When an educator fails to live up to that high standard, we’re all impacted. Student safety and well-being is our highest priority, and we expect our employees’ conduct to be consistent with that priority.”