An Arizona high school teacher who was arrested Wednesday afternoon for allegedly being drunk at school has a history of drinking on the job, something a “rigorous” background check from the school district failed to uncover.
Kathleen Jardine, 57, was found with a bottle of alcohol in her math classroom at Poston Butte High School. Her blood alcohol was twice the legal limit, a Pinal County Sheriff's Office spokesman told CBS5 News.
A student in her class called the office claiming that Jardine was intoxicated and yelling at students.
“She just seemed slow,” a student, Cole McCormick, told the news station.
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Jardine initially denied being intoxicated. She later told police she had been drinking the night before, in the morning before school and during lunch in her classroom.
When asked how she got to school Wednesday morning Jardine reportedly told police: "I was afraid I was too intoxicated to drive so I took a cab this morning."
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu says Jardine lost another teaching job over the same behavior. In 2011, she was fired from Belen High School in New Mexico for drinking at school.
She started teaching at Poston Butte this school year. A school spokesman claimed Jardine didn’t have any red flags on her record.
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"We go off what Arizona law and our school board policy states," the spokesman told CBS5. "I can guarantee you that if there were red flags in the hiring process at any point, [she] would not be hired by us."
The Pinal School District says it cannot comment on the case due to pending criminal charges.
"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,” it said in a statement.
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Seth Anderson, Pinal County Sheriff's Office