Jennifer Hale Florida substitute teacher charged with child abuse after letting 7th grade student to take hit from her vape pen at Eutis Middle School.
‘I just wanted to fit in.’ A Florida substitute teacher has been charged with child abuse after she allegedly allowed a seventh-grade student to take a hit from her vape pen.
Jennifer Hale, 50, was working as a substitute teacher at Eutis Middle School, 40 miles northwest of Orlando, last week when she overheard a seventh-grade student talking about how his friend wanted to try vaping, according to WESH-TV.
Hale then offered the boy a hit off her vape pen.
‘She has a responsibility to that classroom to protect kids. Not abuse them,’
According to a police report, the student said a substitute teacher named Jennifer heard his friend say he wanted to vape and told him, ‘I have one,’ before pulling a vaping device out.
The seventh-grader (aged 12 -13 years old) then said Hale asked if he wanted a hit and told the class not to report it.
When school administrators learned of the incident — which Hale admitted to — the educator was escorted off campus and told to never return.
Hale was arrested and taken into custody at her Mt. Dora home on Friday. Police also took her vape pen as evidence, WFTV reported.
After being read her Miranda rights, she shared her reasoning for giving the child her e-cigarette.
‘Her response was she just wanted to fit in. I don’t get it. What is there to fit in? You’re there to teach a class, not to fit in,’ Eutis Police Chief Craig Capri told WESH.
Capri said Hale was charged with child abuse, which is a third-degree felony.
‘She has a responsibility to that classroom to protect kids. Not abuse them,’ the police official said.
Some parents of students at the school said they were horrified that someone in a position of authority would act as such a poor influence on their children.
‘Teachers. It’s scary now,’ parent Jennifer Hunter reportedly said. ‘I never thought a substitute teacher would give my child that or someone else’s child any of that stuff. Just other students.’
The Lake County School District said Hale began working as a substitute teacher in November 2022 and had no prior disciplinary issues. She is no longer employed with the district.
Hale was released from Lake County jail on a $1,000 bond.