A kindergarten teacher in Ankeny Iowa was arrested after a parent caught her “pounding beers” at a Valentine’s Day party during school hours.
According to reports, Jennifer L. Rich, 40, of West Des Moines, has been charged with public intoxication and child endangerment, according to the Ankeny Police Department.
Police responded to her East Elementary School classroom Friday where she tested positive on a preliminary breath test device. The results were not revealed. Officers also observed Rich had bloodshot, watery eyes.
The Des Moines Register reported that officers then found several empty and full beer cans inside Rich’s bag.
Rich, who has been with the district since 2001, was placed on leave immediately. She then reportedly handed in her resignation Monday.
A parent went to the school Friday afternoon to help with a Valentine’s Day party and called police after she saw a bleary-eyed Rich with an open can of beer in her classroom.
When cops came, they gave the kindergarten teacher a preliminary breathalyzer and determined she was under the influence. They searched her leather carry bag and found two empty beer cans and four unopened ones. Officers said she had watery, bloodshot eyes.
Police took Rich down to the police station, and a substitute was put in charge of the party. The substitute will finish teaching for the rest of the school year.
Ankeny Schools Chief Human Resources Officer Jenifer Owenson told the NBC affiliate “After the teacher was brought to the police station and we were made aware of that, we put her on administrative leave.”
Owenson told the television station “We are not aware that any students were put in any kind of unsafe situation or that really students had questions at all.
“Our principal did take this weekend and call every parent at East to assure them that their student had been safe at all times.”
Rich’s neighbors said they were surprised to hear that she had been arrested.
They described Rich as “a sensitive and beautiful woman with a very big heart” and a good mother to her children.
Rich resigned from East Elementary School on Monday following the bizarre incident. She’d been with the district since 2001.
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