Florida’s Teacher of the Year Charged for Allegedly Abusing Student

Authorities in Florida arrested and charged a woman recently named “Teacher of the Year” with child abuse against a student.

The Duval County School Police arrested Caroline Melanie Lee, an English teacher at Darnell-Cookman Middle/High in Jacksonville, on Oct. 29 after a student reported that Lee struck her several times, causing her nose to bleed.

Lee, the unnamed student in the police report, and other witnesses told police that the incident began over an Instagram post earlier this week, the Florida Times-Union reported.

The Duval County Public Schools posted on Oct. 27 a photo of Lee on Instagram, congratulating her for winning the award. A student commented on the post, wondering if Lee was the student who had used a racial slur while teaching in class.

The original Instagram post has since been deleted.

The student, who is a minor, told police that Lee called to speak with her privately, closed the door, and struck her.

No one else was in the classroom when the alleged incident occurred, but a student standing in the hallway reported hearing Lee raise her voice.

Lee denied the allegations, but police arrested her due to video evidence and the student’s visible injuries.

Following the arrest, Principal Tyrus Lyles told parents in a letter that Lee had been removed from the classroom and will not return, pending judicial and internal procedures.

Duval Schools Superintendent Diana Greene described the situation as “beyond disturbing.”

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

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