The Texas Education Agency is investigating a UTD art professor’s teaching license for sending sexual texts to a high school student while teaching at Allen ISD in 2020.
In December 2020, a student at Allen High School accused art teacher Jeffrey Miranda of sending her inappropriate text messages, and while he was not tried in criminal court, Allen ISD fired Miranda over the accusation. At the time, the student was 18 and Miranda was 39. Miranda has worked as a professor at UTD every year since 2013, including spring 2024. His EC-12 teaching license, which covers instruction from early childhood to 12th grade, has been under investigation since 2021. In April 2023, TEA’s attorney Jacob Crabtree recommended that it be revoked. The Mercury was unable to reach Miranda for comment.
“He seems like such a great guy,” said the student from Allen High School, who did not wish to be named. “And then he just abuses that trust that he builds, you know?”
According to a probable cause affidavit from Allen Police Department, a student submitted an anonymous tip to the Tip411 line on Jan. 13, 2021 saying that a teacher had been sending her inappropriate text messages. After she borrowed art supplies from Miranda, the student said, he later messaged her on Facebook asking her to talk with him on WhatsApp. Over the course of several days in December 2020, Miranda asked her about orgasms and how pleasurable they are for women. He also asked her to pick him up so they could “joy ride” and suggested they Zoom call so Miranda could draw her naked. The affidavit said that between responses, Miranda sent the student drawings of nude women.
“Tell me how do you know about cumming: Lol! Just Curiously <emoji> excited,” Miranda said in a message, according to Allen PD.
The Allen High School student said she initially met Miranda as a sophomore. She said she used to spend time in Miranda’s classroom and discuss her relationships with him, and she saw him as a parental figure.
“He was such a father figure to me, ’cause my dad wasn’t really there,” the student said. “And he knew that, and it’s like your dad doing it to you.”
The student said that the first texts Miranda sent her were sexual, and after “shaking in tears,” she decided to report him. The probable cause affidavit from Allen PD said that in between sexual messages, the student tried to “change subjects” and not respond to Miranda’s comments. Between Dec. 4, 2020, and Jan. 13, 2021, she said she took screenshots of all the messages Miranda sent.
“There’s no way I was the first one, is what I kept telling myself,” the student said. “I’m gonna be the one that stands up.”
The state pursued a charge of Improper Relationship between Educator and Student, which requires physical contact with the victim. On Aug. 17, 2021, a grand jury decided no bill, meaning they did not believe there was sufficient evidence to bring the charges to court.
According to a letter from the Allen ISD Board obtained by The Mercury, on Jan. 13, 2021, Allen High School Principal Matt Russell met with Miranda to discuss the allegations, which Miranda described as a “punch to the gut.” In the meeting, Miranda denied texting the student and said he did not have WhatsApp. Two days later, Miranda admitted to sending the text messages and called his actions a “slip in judgement,” the letter said. The district terminated him on Jan. 21. The Mercury reached out to Allen ISD regarding Miranda’s employment, but a representative for the district declined to comment.
The Allen High School student said that when the original case dropped, it was “heartbreaking.” She said she kept up with Miranda on the internet and that she constantly feared he would come after her.
“In my head, I’d imagine him everywhere,” the student said.
Before his firing, Miranda had worked for Allen ISD for 14 years. He obtained an MFA from UTD in 2010 and has worked as a lecturer at UTD since 2013. Catherine Parsoneault, program coordinator for Visual and Performing Arts, said that Miranda was a routine rehire in 2022 and 2023. When The Mercury was first researching this story in 2022, Parsoneault said that since criminal charges were never brought against Miranda, there was no legal reason not to rehire him.
“I think students need to understand that when a person has been incorrectly charged, and the charges are dropped, then we need to take that at face value,” Parsoneault said. “And if our own biases aren’t based in fact, and if we don’t know what the evidence is, then we have to ask ourselves, why do we feel uncomfortable?”
Parsoneault said she spoke with Miranda over the phone and that he wanted to focus on university level teaching and “move forward.” Parsoneault also said student evaluations of Miranda have been consistently good, a sentiment echoed by a student on Reddit who said Miranda was extremely friendly and helped them with career advice. A public information request revealed no grievances or complaints filed against Miranda as of November 2023. The six reviews posted for Miranda on RateMyProfessor are all positive, describing him as patient and encouraging.
“I’ve learned more in a semester than in my entire education prior,” one commenter said. “He provides feedback in a manner that both constructively criticizes and encourages you to do better (rare in art teachers). Go to class; it’s never boring and you’ll always learn something new. Miranda is AWESOME!”
Miranda’s EC-12 teaching license is currently valid until 2025, although the online listing states he is under investigation by the TEA. The agency filed a petition against Miranda on behalf of the State Board for Educator Certification, as according to Texas Administrative Code, a person’s teaching certificate can be permanently revoked if they have “solicited any sexual contact or romantic relationship with a student or minor” — including making sexual comments about a student’s body. According to transcripts of the texts from Allen High School, Miranda told the student, “Seriously…you got a hot body” and referred to her as a “Greek sculpture.” Miranda attended a hearing regarding his license in September 2023, and as of the time of publication, the state board has returned the case to the TEA recommending they follow their proposal to revoke the license. According to Coursebook, Miranda is registered as teaching Figure Drawing in spring 2024.
“It pisses me off,” the student from Allen High School said. “There’s evidence that he’s done terrible things, and they’re just like, yeah, we’ll just keep a better eye on him. As if he’s a prized teacher.”
This story is ongoing and will be updated when we have more information. If you have any tips, please contact Jack Sierputowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.