Two teachers in Duval County were arrested on separate charges last week. The first teacher teaches second grade at Greenland Pines Elementary. According to a report on First Coast News, the teacher was under investigation and was being reassigned. Upon hearing the news, the teacher allegedly became “enraged and aggressive”. She was asked to leave by school staff and allegedly refused to leave the school. At that point, after refusing to leave, the teacher was arrested for Trespassing on School Grounds after Warning, which is a first degree misdemeanor in Florida. This further escalated the situation and the woman allegedly pushed the police officer. Police report that the teacher continued to resist the officers and would not allow them to handcuff her. In addition to the trespassing charge in Jacksonville, the teacher was also arrested for Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer.
In Florida, a law enforcement officer includes police, correctional officers, probation officers and Fish and Wildlife Commission officers. A battery is when someone intentionally touches another against their will. If the “victim” of a battery is a civilian, the criminal charge is considered a misdemeanor in Duval County. When the victim is a law enforcement officer, the charge is elevated to a third degree felony. Because the woman is a teacher, she likely has no criminal history. Programs for people who have no previous arrests may allow her to have the charge dropped if she completes certain requirements, such as anger management and performing community service. Probation in Jacksonville is also an option.
The other teacher is a chorus teacher at First Coast High School. She is accused of having sexual contact with a student. According to an article in the Florida Times Union, the victim was sixteen or seventeen years-old at the time. This teacher has been charged with several counts of Unlawful Sexual Activity with Certain Minors. Each of these charges is a second degree felony, punishable by up to fifteen years in prison and the possibility of becoming a sex offender in Florida. Under Florida law, when a person who is 24 years-old or older engages in sexual activity with someone who is 16 or 17 years-old, they can be arrested for this charge. Each act is considered another crime. Sexual activity includes oral, anal or vaginal contact. Under this law, the “victim’s” sexual history is considered not relevant. As with the other teacher, this chorus director likely has no criminal past. And although the victim’s prior sexual history is not considered important under the letter of the law, it is very important to understanding what happened and important in mitigating the charge.