Southwest Miami-Dade teacher arrested by school police for inappropriate behavior

Miami-Dade Schools Police arrest a Coral Reef Senior High School teacher following an investigation into improper behavior involving a student.

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. – A social studies teacher at a Southwest Miami-Dade high school is accused of having a romantic relationship with a student, which has led to his arrest and his being fired by the school district.

Miami-Dade Schools Police Department arrested Rafael Birriel, 39, a teacher at Coral Reef Senior High School following an investigation into improper behavior, which involved a student.

The school district said that Birriel had no other issues in his 13 years of employment with Miami-Dade Public Schools.

The accusation was made against Birriel last March when the victim told police that throughout a period of a year she was involved with the teacher and that it “got physical on one occasion.” The age of the victim is not identified on the arrest report.

The victim told police that most of the conversations she had with the teacher were through the messaging app, Discord.

Police were able to get copies of the chats that the two engaged in. Through the messages, Birriel had tried to persuade the girl to send erotic, nude and racy photos of herself. A conversation also recounted an encounter at the school in which Birriel kissed the student and grabbed her buttocks over her clothes after he kissed her.

Over the course of the year, police said Birriel told the girl he loved her as well as his sexual attraction and intentions toward her.

The school district sent Local 10 News a statement about the accusations.

“This is a serious matter that is not taken lightly. As soon as the allegations were reported, the employee was removed from the school and M-DSPD initiated an investigation. As a result of the arrest, the individual’s employment will be terminated and he will be prevented from seeking future work with the district.”

Birriel was arrested Monday and bonded out of jail. He is awaiting trial, where he faces 2 felony counts for offenses against a student by an authority figure and for prohibited computer usage.

A South Florida teacher accused of having a romantic relationship with one of his students has been arrested.

About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local