PASADENA, Texas A Pasadena Memorial High School teacher has been placed on administrative leave for allegedly having an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old student.
According to court documents, a former student saw the teen girl and Paul Tate, a 36-year-old teacher, feeding each other and walking arm- in-arm at a local Olive Garden.
That student snapped photos of them and contacted police. Neighbors are shocked.
He s awesome, all the kids love him and he s a lot of fun, said Diane Barnes, a neighbor.
He was always coming to the different school functions and always show support, said Hanna Montoya, a former student.
A little shocked. To me, a person is innocent until proven guilty. Paul is innocent as far as I m concerned, said Jerry Taylor, a neighbor.
Tate has been charged with indecency with a child and improper relationship with a student.
He s been teaching since 2009.
Court documents say the two had been seeing each other since October. The assistant principal spotted them at a McDonald s and warned Tate to stay away from her. Police later found text messages on both of their phones, saying they were in love with each other and that they had sex.
That doesn t sound like he would do that. He loves kids, he supports kids, said Barnes.
Authorities also found picture messages of the two kissing and photos of the teen in lingerie. Court documents say the teen sent them to Tate.
I can t really see that happening, said Barnes.
In May, Tate won an award from the Gulf Coast Educators for being a great teacher.
He loves his job so much that he would come to class dressed up as a Roman soldier or whatever period clothing the students were taught. Neighbors don t believe any of these allegations.
Paul, if you re listening buddy, I m behind you 100 percent buddy, said Taylor.
Tate is expected to turn himself into authorities.