ETX school counselor charged with improper relationship with student

ETX school counselor charged with improper relationship with student

ARP, TX (KLTV) - An Arp Elementary school counselor has been arrested for an improper relationship with a student.

According to Smith County judicial records, Barbara Lynn Orpineda, 31, of Arp was booked into the county jail on Wednesday on two charges of improper relationship between an educator and student and two charges of sexual assault of a child.

According to Arp ISD Superintendent, Dwight Thomas,  Orpineda was employed as an elementary school counselor. Around 4 p.m. on October 11, Thomas received the allegations against Orpineda from a parent.

The district and police department also issued statements concerning the investigation.

Orpineda was suspended and placed on administrative leave on Oct. 12.

Thomas says the school opened an investigation and he filed a CPS report. Statements were taken from the parents and students involved. Thomas says he gave the information to police.

Arp police arrested and charged Orpineda on Wednesday.

Orpineda is currently in the Smith County Jail. Her bonds total $200,000.

According to the State Board of Education's teacher certification website, Orpineda is currently under review by the TEA Education Investigations Division. Orpineda is certified by the state to teach grades 4-8, and as a school counselor for grades EC-12.

Read the full school district's full statement below:

"At approximately 4:15 on October 11, 2017, AHS principal, Shannon Arrington, contacted me about allegations two parents and a student reported to him after school about an improper interaction between the student and an employee.  I instructed Mr. Arrington to get a statement from these three as well from any others who may have been witnesses to the allegations.

After our phone conversation, I immediately contacted AISD lawyer John Hardy to lay down the groundwork of how and what to report to the authorities.  I then contacted the AISD Board president to inform him of the allegations and how the district would proceed in handling the investigation.  Approximately 4:45 PM, I sent a text to the employee in question that Mr. Arrington and I needed to meet with her at 8 AM the next morning.

On the morning of October 12th, Mr. Arrington provided me with handwritten statements from the parents, students who made the allegations, and from two student witnesses who had heard about the allegations.  This information was collected and I made a report to Child Protective Services.  After this, I prepared a report to the State Board of Educator Certifications in care of the Investigations department.  On this afternoon I visited with the Arp Police Department, they sent out officers the next day to begin their investigations.

Currently the employee is on administrative leave pending the findings of the court system.  This matter is under investigation and I cannot comment further at this time."

Later in the day, the police department released its own statement, detailing the steps that led to charges being brought against Orpineda.

On 10/12/2017, at approximately 3:00 P.M. Arp Police Department was contacted by the Child Advocacy Center of Smith County (CAC) about allegations involving an Arp ISD employee and two juvenile students. It was soon confirmed by Arp ISD Administration that there was in fact, an internal investigation in progress by Arp ISD. 

After extensive investigation by the Arp Police Department, in conjunction with Detective's from the Smith County Sheriff's Office, along with the Child Advocacy Center of Smith County, it was determined that there was probable cause to believe the allegations were true. 

Based off the findings during the investigation warrants were issued for the arrest of Barbara Lynn Orpineda. Mrs. Orpineda is charged with two counts of Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student and two counts for Sexual Assault of a Child. All four charges are Second Degree Felonies. 

Arp Police Department located Mrs.Orpineda at a residence in Smith County, where she was then taken into Custody. 

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