'Teacher of the Year' charged with child abuse

·2-min read

A school teacher has been charged with child abuse two days after being named Teacher of the Year at the school.

Caroline “Melanie” Lee, 60, from Florida was arrested on Friday after it’s alleged she hit a Darnell-Cookman Middle/High student in the face causing her to bleed.

Lee had called a student into her classroom to speak privately, according to The Florida Times-Union, citing a Duval Schools Police report.

It came after the school district posted Lee’s win on Instagram, and that same student wrote on the post claiming Lee had used the n-word in class last year, WPTV reported.

Lee responded to the post claiming it was used in context when discussing the novel Of Mice and Men, police said.

Caroline “Melanie” Lee, 60, is pictured.
Caroline “Melanie” Lee, 60, has been accused of hitting a student. Source: WPTV

The student still wrote it was not the right thing to do.

Lee denied physically harming the student, telling a police officer that she only wanted to talk to the student whose Instagram message she perceived as “a threat to kill her.” But, she added, she was “not afraid” and “did not feel the need” to report the message to staff.

School surveillance video showed Lee “walking at an aggressive pace” to her classroom before the incident and the student, about four minutes later, leaving the classroom holding her face and walking with a “low demeanor” to a guidance counselor’s office, where she reported the incident, the responding officer said in the report.

Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts in Florida
The teacher allegedly struck a student at Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts in Florida. Source: Google Maps

Duval Schools Superintendent Diana Greene said in a statement that the allegation was “beyond disturbing” and that school officials will cooperate with all investigations.

“What is alleged should never occur — ever — especially in a school setting,” Ms Greene said.

“I have no tolerance for adults who harm children, especially adults in a position of trust.”

with The Associated Press

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