Elementary school teacher suspended after second time drunk at work

Anthony Austin anchors. 4/4/2017

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Hyde Grove Elementary school music teacher has been suspended for 30 days after allegedly showing up to work drunk for the second time.

According to an investigative report from Duval County Schools, Dale Roberts, Hyde Grove's music teacher, was witnessed as being physically unstable, slurring his speech, and smelling of alcohol on Feb. 6, 2017.

More than one teacher reported Roberts' strange behavior to the schools' principal AuGena Sapp, who said in her report that she could smell alcohol on Roberts' breath and in his classroom, despite the backdoor being open.

When Sapp asked Roberts whether he was under the influence of alcohol, he first said no. In her statement, Sapp said, "I reminded him of a few weeks ago when I asked him the same question and he told me he was not, but ended up being three times over the legal alcohol limit and I asked him again to tell me the truth."

Roberts admitted that he had been drinking during the Super Bowl the night before, whiskey and honey for his sore throat, and he had consumed only four ounces over several hours, according to his account. 

When Sapp requested that Roberts meet her in the front in order for him to go to a facility to take an alcohol test, he left the campus without permission. 

In a written statement, Roberts said he left because he was scared, due to his prior incident, and he didn't want to lose his job. He cited personal problems and a recent illness as to why he was leaning on drinking to solve his issues. 

Roberts stated that that he admitted to making a poor decision and he has since sought out counseling to help him deal with his stress and drinking alcohol in excess to deal with his issues.

However, according to a coworker's written statement, the two documented cases may not be the only two times Roberts has made such a mistake.

A physical education coach stated that he ran into Roberts on February 6 but did not notice the slurred speech, smell, or odd behavior on that day, as their interaction was very brief. Though, on two or three prior occasions, the coach said he witnessed Roberts stumbling, slow to answer questions and acting strange as well. The coach stated that he did not tell anyone because he did not want Roberts to lose his job.

Roberts asked the school board for leniency at their meeting Tuesday night, but they ultimately decided to suspend him.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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