EUSTIS, Fla. (WFLA) — A Lake County substitute teacher was charged with child abuse last week after she was accused of letting a student hit her vape pen.
Jennifer Hale, 50, was working as a substitute teacher at Eustis Middle School when the incident occurred, according to a police report obtained by NBC affiliate WESH.
Eustis police said a seventh grader reported hearing another student say he wanted to vape. Hale allegedly said, “I have one,” and allowed the student to take a puff.
The reporting student said Hale allegedly told the class not to report it.
“You can’t do this. You just can’t do it,” Eustis Police Chief Craig Capri told WESH. “This should be common sense.”
Hale was escorted off campus and told to never return after school administrators learned of the incident. Police said Hale allegedly admitted to giving the child her vape after being read her Miranda rights.
“Her response was she ‘just wanted to fit in’,” Capri told WESH. “I don’t get it. What is there to fit in? You’re there to teach a class, not to fit in.”
Jail records indicate Hale was charged with child abuse, which is a third degree felony. She was released on a $1,000 bond.
The Lake County School District told WESH that Hale began working as a substitute teacher in Nov. 2022 and had no disciplinary issues until this incident. Officials said Hale is no longer employed with the district.