Teacher of the Year Award Winner Arrested for Child Abuse

Teacher of the Year Award Winner Arrested for Child Abuse An empty classroom (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

By Jeremy Frankel | Tuesday, 02 November 2021 06:09 AM

A Florida teacher who received her school’s title of Teacher of the Year was arrested two days later, on Friday, for allegedly beating a student for criticizing her on Instagram.

As reported by theBlaze, Caroline Lee was named Teacher of the Year by Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts in October, and then nominated by the school district to be Duval County’s Teacher of the Year. The school district announced Lee’s nomination on its Instagram page, where a student asked if Lee had used the N-word in class the year prior.

The New York Post reports that Lee later admitted to using the word while quoting John Steinbeck’s "Of Mice and Men."

In response to the student’s question, Lee demanded that the student, who has not been named because she is a minor, meet with her in her office. The student told police that she had been too scared to meet in Lee’s office, so Lee instead came and pulled her out of another class and demanded the student follow her alone to her classroom.

According to the student, Lee asked why she had threatened her. After the student denied doing so, Lee allegedly hit her across the face with an open palm, called her a “f–king b—h” while hitting her on top of her head, and kicked her in the leg.

Surveillance footage showed the student leaving Lee’s classroom holding her face and going straight to the guidance counselor, according to police. The guidance counselor saw that the student had a bloody nose.

NBC News reports that the school’s principal, Tyrus Lyles, sent a letter to parents saying that Lee had been removed from the classroom. Lyles wrote that "it is very disappointing, but I am compelled to share with you that one of our teachers was arrested today on campus for child abuse. Even more disappointing, the teacher arrested is our recent teacher of the year nominee."