Alleged drunk teacher removed from classroom - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Alleged drunk teacher removed from classroom

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By Jeff Skrzypek

OKEECHOBEE, FL (WFLX) - Removed from the classroom for allegedly being drunk while teaching, a middle school teacher in Okeechobee is now under investigation. 

According to a report, obtained from the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office, the incident occurred on Monday during class at Yearling Middle School. 

Several students told investigators they noticed their teacher speaking with slurred speech and having trouble standing.

When a deputy and the school principal went into the classroom to investigate, they noticed the teacher having trouble maintaining balance.

The report indicates after the teacher was removed for further questioning, investigators noticed a strong smell of alcohol and watched the teacher struggle just to walk down the halfway. "Oh my God. That says a lot. That worries me," said Elizabeth Coreas, a parent who was waiting to pick up her child on Wednesday. 

Coreas said her 8th grade daughter, Carmen, had the teacher in question the school year before. "She's a really nice teacher. She's strict on you but means well," said Coreas. 

No one at Yearling Middle School wanted to comment on the matter. 

The Okeechobee County School District released this statement: 

"The district office with Okeechobee County Schools is currently investigating the incident that occurred January 27 involving a teacher at Yearling Middle School. As with all allegations, the district office will thoroughly investigate the situation according to the individual's right to due process. Once the investigation is complete, decisions will be made regarding appropriate steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our students. The teacher involved in the allegations is not in the classroom and all classes are being covered by a substitute teacher. The district wants to assure all parents that we are committed to provided a safe learning  environment for all students," wrote Joni Ard, district spokesperson, in a prepared statement released via fax. 

Coreas said it was all students could talk about on Wednesday at school. "It's scary. It's like you put your trust in the teacher," said Coreas. 

The report released by the Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office also indicated the teacher in question denied drinking when asked by a deputy. She did mention, according to the report, that she was "going through a lot of things in her personal life". 

Parent Elizabeth Coreas said whether the allegations are true, the school should have reached out to parents. "They should tell us what happened and what they're going to do to prevent this to happen," said Coreas. 

The teacher facing the allegations of being intoxicated while teaching has not been arrested or charged. 

The district will continue to investigate.

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