A love letter discovered by a mother has led to the arrest of a San Jose physical education teacher who is accused of having an illicit sexual relationship with a student, according to police reports.
Rita Brum, 24, a first-year teacher at Mount Pleasant High School in East San Jose, is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges of having sexual relations with a minor — a 17-year-old female student, authorities said.
It marks the second time in a week that a female physical education teacher who has worked at a South Bay school was accused of having an illegal sexual relationship with a girl.
Last week, Abigail Holloway was arrested in Colorado on suspicion of having a three-year sexual relationship with a student at Kings Academy, a Christian preparatory school in Sunnyvale. The girl was 13 when the purported illicit relationship started.
Brum was arrested Feb. 26 and has been released on $15,000 bail. Her attorney Edward N. Ajlouny said Brum plans to take “full responsibility” for the relationship. Ajlouny said he hopes to get the “best plea deal possible” for his client.
“Rita is a very good person who made a mistake,” Ajlouny said. “She had some issues in her past that may have led her to make this choice. We’re only hoping that we can avoid significant jail time. She’s taken responsibility and she is trying to improve herself and get clarity so this won’t happen again.”
Bob Nuñez, superintendent for the East Side Union High School District, said Brum was placed on administrative leave following her arrest. Tuesday night, the school board voted to fire Brum.
“I believe that the district took every precaution, as we normally do,” Nuñez said. “At this point, we’re trying to move ahead and deal with any issues brought to us by parents and or students.”
According to police reports, Brum met the 17-year-old girl, a student at Mount Pleasant High, early in the school year.
In the following months, their relationship grew as they spent time together on and off campus.
It wasn’t until Brum invited the girl to her house to watch a Sharks hockey game in early December that they began kissing. The girl told police it was a “long passionate kiss” and she was “freaked out” after, because it was a teacher.
The girl told police she and Brum kissed on campus a couple of times and eventually began a sexual relationship.
The relationship ended when the girl’s mother found a love letter from Brum to her daughter. The mom became angry and confronted her daughter, who then detailed her relationship with Brum.
The mother then confronted Brum at HP Pavilion and pulled her hair during an altercation, according to a police report. Officers at the arena responded to the incident and were told about the illicit relationship.
Another PE teacher at Mount Pleasant interviewed by police told investigators that Brum was an intern in the process of earning her teaching credentials at San Jose State University. She described Brum to police as “supportive and encouraging” and said Brum was also an assistant soccer coach who was “very well liked.”