FLORENCE, Arizona — A 57-year-old teacher at a San Tan Valley high school was arrested on suspicion of being drunk while teaching a class Wednesday afternoon, a Pinal County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said.
A student in Kathleen Jardine’s math class at Poston Butte High School called the school’s main office and said his teacher appeared intoxicated and was yelling at students, the spokesman said.
Administrators removed Jardine from her class and a deputy who spoke with her said he suspected she was extremely intoxicated, the spokesman said.
Jardine, of Chandler, initially denied drinking, but later said she drank the night before, in the morning before school and during lunch in her classroom, the spokesman said.
A school security officer later found a half-full 750 ml bottle of vodka, an empty single-serving bottle of wine and a half-empty bottle of an orange-colored drink in Jardine’s classroom, the spokesman said.
Jardine took a breath test and it returned a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.205 percent, well above the state’s legal limit of 0.08 percent, the spokesman said.
The spokesman said the deputy said he asked Jardine how she got to school Wednesday, and she reportedly told him, “I was afraid I was too intoxicated to drive so I took a cab this morning.”
Jardine was cited for one count of consumption of alcohol in public and was released to her daughter as this investigation continued, the spokesman said.
The School Resource deputy interviewed six students from the class, and all confirmed she appeared intoxicated, was yelling at students and using profanity, the spokesman said.
Jardine could also face possible charges of disorderly conduct, the spokesman said.
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said Jardine was fired from a high school in New Mexico in 2011 for being intoxicated.
The Florence Unified School District issued this press release about the incident:
“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.”