Miami Teacher Stripped of Certifications After Arrest for Sex With Student

A Miami teacher's education certificate was permanently revoked last month.
A Miami teacher's education certificate was permanently revoked last month. Photo by Wokandapix / Pixabay
In October 2017, police got wind that a teacher at Miami Arts Charter School in Wynwood had engaged in a sexual relationship with an underage student. Following a three-month investigation, Valeria Costadoni — a language arts teacher at the school — was arrested on charges of lewd and lascivious battery on a child. An arrest report said Costadoni had at least four sexual encounters with a male student over the course of about two years.

Now Costadoni will no longer be allowed to teach in the Sunshine State; last month, the Florida Department of Education permanently revoked her teaching certificate after filing an administrative complaint against her. The complaint lists several violations of Florida statutes and rules of professional conduct for educators, including failing to protect students from conditions harmful to learning.

A final order says Costadoni, age 32, agreed to surrender her teaching certificates as part of an administrative investigation at the state level. Reached by New Times, her lawyer declined to comment about the disciplinary proceedings.

Costadoni was initially charged with several counts of sexual activity with a minor, lewd and lascivious battery on a child younger than 16, and aggravated child abuse. The student's age was redacted from the arrest report, but the Miami Herald reported he was 17 years old when Costadoni was arrested.
Alfred de la Rosa, the school’s founder and principal, released a statement at the time saying the school had no knowledge of the situation and learned about Costadoni's arrest from media reports.

"As always, we are committed to doing all we can to maintain student safety and the well-being of our students at all times," de la Rosa said. "The teacher has been removed from the school, and our staff shall be standing by to offer student support, guidance, and counseling as may be necessary."

According to the arrest report, Costadoni and the student engaged in sex acts at her home, at the school, and in her car. Court records show she pleaded guilty to aggravated child abuse; the remaining charges were dismissed. She was sentenced last February to two years of community control — commonly known as house arrest — and eight years of probation.

The ramifications affecting her career, however, will last far longer than her sentence in the criminal case: The revocation to Costadoni's teaching license is permanent. 
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Alexi C. Cardona is a former staff writer at Miami New Times.