Cal City math teacher accused of student sex

Cal City math teacher accused of student sex

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A California City High School math teacher has been arrested on accusations that she had sexual encounters with several students.

Amber Failla, 36, was arrested last week at her Tehachapi home. She's accused of engaging in oral copulation with minors under 16 years old, according to a statement from California City Police.

Neighbors in Tehachapi near the teacher's home told Eyewitness News they hadn't heard about the allegations, and they were shocked.

"She's very nice to us," Nick Phillips said. He said Failla and her husband have lived next to his family for about five years.

"We take care of her dogs sometimes," Phillips added. "And she's always been nice, and stuff." He hadn't seen Failla recently, because his family has been out of town.

Another neighbor who didn't want to be identified also had no idea about the charges, but she had seen a number of police cars at the teacher's home a few days ago.

California City Police searched Failla's home and reported they seized computers and cellphones. She's also suspected of sending harmful "explicit" matter to minors, police said.

Another neighbor said she knew Failla because the teacher worked as a substitute at Tehachapi High School. "She seemed normal," this girl said. The neighbor said she'd had Failla as a sub several times at Tehachapi High.

Eyewitness News found a number of entries on a website where students can rate teachers. There are some recent entries about Failla, commenting on the arrest.

Comments about Failla from 2008 and 2010 are apparently from Tehachapi High students.They include entries like "greatest teacher," "cool," and several called Failla helpful and awesome. One student said Failla was the "first teacher who really helped" them with geometry.

There's no sign that Failla is being investigated for any allegations when she taught at Tehachapi High School. Eyewitness News checked with Tehachapi Police Chief Jeff Kermode and the Kern County Sheriff's Office, and both said they have no cases underway regarding Failla.

California City police said the allegations they're investigating relate to students at California City High. Officers said they believe Failla has had a sexual relationship with the students for more than a year.

Living near the teacher, Phillips said his family never noticed anything out of the ordinary about her.

California City Police said the investigation is still underway, and they are "piecing together  Failla's sexual relationship" with the students.