High school band co-director charged with raping student

The co-director of a marching band at a high school in Texas has been charged with raping a 16-year-old girl, authorities said.

Markel Hall, a 34-year-old employee at South Oak Cliff High School in Dallas, had sex with the female student at his apartment several times a week and then drove her to school, according to an arrest warrant affidavit obtained by the Dallas Morning News.

Hall also drove the girl home from school most days and spent time with her on the weekends, she told police.

Hall, who was charged with sexual assault of a child, remained held on $15,000 bail Friday at the Dallas County Jail, online records showed. He will also face a separate charge of improper relationship between student and teacher to be filed with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, according to the affidavit.

Hall also worked as a teacher’s assistant at the school. He has since been placed on administrative leave, KTVT reports.

The Texas Education Agency told the Senate Education Committee earlier this week that reports of improper relationships between educators and students have skyrocketed by 42 percent since last year.

Lauren Callahan, a spokeswoman for the agency, told KBTX that the number of reports has increased for the 10th consecutive year. The increase is also the largest one-year hike in at least a decade, she said.

It’s unclear what exactly is behind the surge, but Callahan said a change in the reporting requirement last year that mandates principals to report inappropriate conduct or face harsh consequences may be causing the increase.

“[The law] makes [principals] responsible both with the threat of a sanction on their certificate and possibly a monetary fine for failing to report,” Callahan said.

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