Alpine teacher faces charges

ALPINE – A popular music and assistant band teacher in the Alpine Independent School District faces charges of being in an inappropriate relationship with a student. He was charged this week. Eric Morales, 27, was arrested Tuesday on the charge and was placed on administrative leave from his job as an Elementary School music teacher and assistant band teacher at the High School. Superintendent Becky Watley told a group of interested parents Tuesday evening that Morales “was our elementary music teacher, so that would be pre-k through fourth grade. He was also an assistant band director, working with middle school and high school students.” He had worked for the district for four years. “The information we got right now came from the parents,” Sheriff Ronny Dodson said. “The mother had found some material and turned it over to police. That’s how we came involved.” Watley said the parents were concerned and wanted to be sure their children were safe. About a dozen parents and others posted to the Face-book page in Morales’ defense saying he is a good teacher and well-liked by his students. Some suggested the “inappropriate” relation could be something as simple as a hug, which is common, particularly in the southwest culture. One offered to contribute to a go-fund-me page to help in his defense. Morales was taken before Justice of the Peace Gilbert Valenzuela after his arrest, who set bond at $30,000 for the second-degree felony charge. Morales posted bond Wednesday and was released.