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'Teacher of the year' charged with child abuse in Florida

Caroline Lee, 60, accused of hitting student, causing nose to bleed
Posted at 12:34 PM, Oct 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-30 12:39:07-04

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A 60-year-old Florida teacher is accused of child abuse just days after being named "Teacher of the Year."

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Caroline Lee was arrested on a child abuse charge Friday at Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts.

The victim stated in the report that when she arrived at her first-period class on Friday that her teacher said Lee wanted to talk with her.

The report said Lee brought the student back to her classroom and asked the student why she threatened her.

According to the report, the student said she never threatened Lee, but Lee then reached across the table and struck the student with the palm of her hand.

The report goes on to say that Lee called the victim expletives and then kept hitting her on the top of her head as her nose kept bleeding.

The victim stated she began trying to hold both of Lee's arms to keep from being struck and Lee kicked her lower leg.

Police got involved once the student went to the guidance counselor's office.

According to the report, the violent incident was preceded by an Instagram argument between Lee and the victim on the Duval County school's page.

This was where Lee was being congratulated for winning teacher of the year two days prior.

There was a comment that questioned if Lee was the teacher that used the "n-word" last year in class.

A response from Lee said that she used it in the context of the book "Of Mice and Men."

The student said on the posts that that was not the right thing to do and Lee agreed.

In the report, Lee said she interpreted one of the comments as a threat to kill her.

Darnell-Cookman's principal told families of the arrest in a phone message that Lee has been removed from the classroom and will not return pending the judicial and internal procedures.

"I have no tolerance for adults who harm children, especially adults in a position of trust," said the superintendent of Duval County Public Schools.