Duval County, Florida: A 60-year-old Florida teacher, Caroline Melanie Lee was arrested for child abuse for allegedly hitting a student two days after she received the 'Teacher of the Year' award. The student is said to have criticized her for getting the award, which agitated Lee, according to police. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the High School English teacher was hailed for her accomplishment by the Duval County Public Schools last Wednesday, October 27.
Lee was arrested Friday, October 29 after allegedly hitting a female pupil in the face that left her [the student] with a bloody nose, the arrest report stated. Lee allegedly asked the student to come to her office after she is believed to have read a comment thread on the Instagram post that criticized her [Lee] for getting the award. The comments accused her [Lee] of using the N-word in classes. The identity of the student was not released as she's a juvenile.
Caroline Melanie Lee allegedly called the student a 'f**ing bitch'
The student, in her account of what transpired in Lee's office the day of the alleged incident, told the investigators she was 'terrified' to go to Lee's office. The teacher, however, barged into her classroom and demanded she leaves with her. The surveillance footage even showed the teacher "walking ahead ... at an aggressive pace," the police report stated. Once the duo was alone in Lee's office, the teacher is said to have shut the door and "reached across the table and struck her [the student] on her face with the heel of her palm."
"Lee then began repeatedly calling her a 'f**ing bitch' as she landed several more strikes on the top of her head" and also "kicked her on her lower leg," the girl told the investigators. Surveillance footage showed the girl holding her face as she dodged off to the school's guidance counselor to report the alleged attack.
Caroline Melanie Lee admitted to using the N-word in class
Although Lee admitted to being in the classroom, she denied hitting the student. The officers, however, noted that Lee "could not explain the bloody nose." According to the arrest warrant, Lee even admitted to using the N-word in classes but only while reading it in John Steinbeck's book Of Mice and Men. High School principal Tyrus Lyles informed the parents about the "very disappointing" arrest of a teacher "for child abuse" on Friday, October 29."The teacher has been removed from the classroom and will not return, pending the judicial and internal procedures," Lyles wrote.
District Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene called the allegation "beyond disturbing," before adding that this kind of incident "should never occur ever especially in a school setting." "We will cooperate with all investigations, and pending those results, we will take the actions necessary to stand up for and protect our students," Greene said.