Teacher accused of being drunk at school

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by Mike Gertzman

Video report by Tanya Mendis

Posted on August 14, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 18 at 9:41 AM

Map: Poston Butte High School

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SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. -- A teacher at Poston Butte High School was cited for consumption of alcohol in public after she admitted to drinking in her classroom during her lunch on Wednesday.

Kathleen Jardine, 57, of Chandler, could also be facing a disorderly conduct charge, according to a press release from the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

The investigation began when a student in Jardine's math class called the school's main office to report that Jardine was intoxicated and yelling at students.

A school resource deputy was asked to assist the principal. The deputy said he could tell Jardine was extremely intoxicated.

Initially, Jardine denied drinking any alcohol but later admitted she drank on Tuesday night, Wednesday morning before school and during lunch in her classroom.

Jardine blew a .205 breath alcohol concentration, according to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

She told the deputy that she took a taxi cab to school because she was afraid that she was too drunk to drive.

A school security officer went to Jardine's classroom to get her purse and discovered a half full 750 ml bottle of Fleischmann’s Vodka, an empty single serving size bottle of Beringer white wine and a half full bottle of Sunny D. Jardine confirmed the alcohol belonged to her.

The school resource deputy interviewed six of the student witnesses from the class. They reported she was intoxicated, was yelling at students and cursing.

"The Florence Unified School District has a close working relationship with our office to ensure the safety and security of their students," said Sheriff Paul Babeu. "School officials immediately took action and notified our school resource deputy as soon as they discovered Jardine was intoxicated."

On Tuesday, Jardine got an Extreme DUI in Gilbert, according to Sheriff Babeu. She was stopped in a school zone while driving home from school at approximately 3:40 p.m. Her BAC was measured at .257 by a portable breath test.

She was arrested by Gilbert police and her vehicle was impounded. That is why she had to take a taxi cab to work on Wednesday.

"Obviously she needs help," Sheriff Babeu said. "We want to see that she gets help but she's also going to be held accountable for creating this disturbance in the school."

"Learning math can be hard enough, I can’t imagine trying to learn it from a drunk teacher," said Sheriff Paul Babeu. "This is not the first time teacher Kathleen Jardine has been intoxicated in the classroom."

In September of 2011, Jardine was a math teacher at Belen High School in New Mexico. Students reported to their administration she was "acting strange and slurring her words." It was determined she was intoxicated and she was later fired from the school.

Belen Teacher Fired for Alleged Drunkenness

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Statement from Florence Unified School District:
Dr. Amy Fuller, Superintendent

Impaired Teacher at Poston Butte

On August 13, a teacher was reported, by students, exhibiting intoxicated-like symptoms. The fast acting administrative team at Poston Butte High School responded by removing the teacher from the classroom environment immediately. The School Resource Officer was called and it was verified that this individual was intoxicated. This individual was then arrested and removed from campus.

Due to the pending criminal charges and this being a personnel issue, the Florence Unified School District is not at liberty to give further comment at this time. Please contact the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office with any further inquiries about the criminal investigation.

Please remember, as troubling as this situation is, it was the act of an individual and does not reflect the standards of the Florence Unified School District or the amazing people who work tirelessly for the kids who attend our schools.

Dr. Fuller Quote: “I applaud the students and administration for their work in reporting and removing this person from the classroom. The safety of our students is imperative and we will continue to strive for excellence. We will cooperate fully with the Pinal County Sheriff’s office.”

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