Tulare community shaken by teacher arrest

TULARE, Calif. - People in Tulare are still reeling from the news a teacher was arrested for having sexual relations with an underage student at Tulare Union High School.

Juan Javier Sanchez, 44, was arrested Thursday morning after Tulare police received an anonymous tip Wednesday. Sgt. Andy Garcia, public information officer for the Tulare Police Department, said the interactions happened on-campus in a four-week time period.

Diaz said there might also be more victims.

Sanchez had been teaching Spanish at the high school for the past seven years. One of his former students, Martha Diaz, said she never would have guessed in a million years Sanchez would be accused of something like this.

"I still don't believe it," Diaz said. "He kept hearing these things would happen, so he would keep his distance."

She's not alone in the shock and surprise. Amanda Perez has a number of kids in Tulare schools, one of whom will be attending Tulare Union High School in the fall. She said this arrest adds a new worry as a parent.

"You leave your child with the teachers and principals and you put that trust in them to take care of them while you're not there," Perez said.

Perez also said she would like to see stronger background checks on teacher candidates in Tulare schools. However, some even think that may not be enough.

"I just think that even though they do background checks, there's always going to be someone who slips through the cracks," said Tulare resident Carlos Reveles.

The Tulare District Attorney's office said a court date is pending as they continue to look over records. Police are also still looking into whether Sanchez had any kind of record.

Sanchez is currently booked into Tulare County Jail, being held on more than $1 million bail.

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