April 11, 2014 11:04:40 AM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
A New Hope High School teacher was sent home Wednesday after a student allegedly found alcohol in the teacher's bag.
According to a student who discovered the alleged alcohol, the high school teacher was observed "stumbling and acting clumsy" in the first class of the day. The student asked The Dispatch to not publish her name because the student feared reprisal.
The student said that when the teacher stepped out of the classroom, students checked her desk for alcohol. The student said a Mountain Dew bottle was found in the teacher's bag and the bottle contained a clear liquid that "smelled like straight vodka."
The students took the bottle to another teacher, who reported the incident to New Hope Principal Matt Smith.
On Thursday morning, Smith confirmed the student's version of events. The teacher was subjected to a Breathalyzer test, per school policy. She was then asked to leave school property and given a ride home.
The teacher was not placed under arrest, according to Smith. The Dispatch is not naming the teacher since no charges were filed.
Smith confirmed the teacher in question was not at school Thursday.
The school resource officer, a deputy with the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department, reportedly performed the Breathalyzer test but Chief Deputy Marc Miley would not comment on the incident. Miley directed questions on the incident to the school district.
Efforts to reach LCSD Superintendent Lynn Wright for comment were not successful Thursday.
Discussion of the incident immediately appeared on social media websites Twitter and Facebook with students commenting. One commenter wrote, "New hope where teachers come to school drunk." Another wrote, "I don't always get drunk but when I do I'm in class."
Smith said he made an announcement over the school's intercom after the incident reminding students that they are not allowed to use cell phones during the school day. No student has been punished for posting about the incident, Smith said.
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.
1. Spears: CMSD tax hike unnecessary COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Higgins: $150 million project eying Lowndes Port COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. CPD officer involved in fight to go before city council COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. MSU horticulture student gains experience at Smith Landscaping COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY