Last Wednesday, a white woman in Jacksonville, Florida, was named Teacher of the Year. Just TWO DAYS later she was arrested after being accused of repeatedly hitting a student in the face after the student called her out for allegedly using the n-word.
According to the Florida Times-Union, 60-year-old Caroline Melanie Lee, a teacher at Darnell-Cookman Middle/High School and a woman whose name is just full of “Karen” alternatives, has been charged with child abuse following the alleged incident which left a student with a bloody nose.
On Wednesday, Duval County Public Schools posted a photo of Lee to Instagram and congratulated her for being named Teacher of the Year. Lee was probably expecting the responses to the now-deleted post to be full of praise and congrats. Instead, a number of students reportedly pointed out that she had been involved in a controversy over her use of the n-word during class among other microaggressions towards students of color she’s accused of committing.
Lee explained that she had only used the slur in the context of John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men. Because Lee apparently hadn’t gotten the memo that a lot of Black people feel the n-word shouldn’t pass through a melanin-redacted person’s lips in any context due to the triggering nature of the history of white people’s free use of racial slurs, she was reportedly surprised that one student pointed out that she shouldn’t be using the word under any circumstances.
Actually, that isn’t exactly true. The Times-Union reported that the unnamed student told the police Lee agreed that she shouldn’t have used the word—but apparently she still took issue with being called out.
According to the police report, Lee reached out to the student’s first-period teacher and said she wanted to talk to her because the student isn’t in any of her classes—but after the teacher passed the message on, the student didn’t show up. The student reportedly told the police she felt uncomfortable paying the visit to Lee, likely because she knows of the dangers posed by white fragility. So Lee decided to go the white entitlement route and came to the student’s first-period classroom to order her back to her room for the meeting instead of just accepting the fact that the student didn’t want to see her.
And that’s where things took a violent turn, according to the student.
She said once they got to Lee’s classroom, Lee closed the door and questioned the student on why she had threatened her on the Instagram post. (White fragility means being called out for racial insensitivity is akin to being physically threatened.)
The student said she told Lee she hadn’t threatened anyone, and that’s when Lee went full Karens-gone-wild and hit her in the face with the heel of her hand causing her bloody nose. She said Lee then continued hitting her in the face while cursing at her and calling her names. After the student blocked her from continuing to hit her, according to her account, Lee kicked her on the lower leg and then told her to get out.
Another student who was apparently at Lee’s door when the two arrived told police he was decorating the door when she asked him to leave and closed it. He said he could hear shouting inside and when Lee let him back in and he asked what happened, she said she simply questioned the student about the Instagram comment and the student called her a racist.
Lee told the police she perceived the student’s comment as “a threat to kill her,” according to the cops. (Because obviously when you feel your life has been threatened, the first thing you do is invite the person threatening you to be alone with you in a room.) She also denied closing her classroom door saying “she always leaves her doors open.” But according to video footage noted in the police report, that was a whole lie.
Here’s what the police report stated as reported by the Times-Union:
- 8:21:50 a.m.: Lee leaves her classroom by the back door.
- 8:22:59 a.m.: Lee returns at an “aggressive pace,” leading the student. Both enter the classroom’s back door.
- 8:23:02 a.m.: Lee motions away the student at the front door and closed the front door.
- 8:23:31 a.m.: Lee shuts the rear door.
- 8:24:13 a.m.: The student exits the rear door of the classroom. According to the report, her “demeanor seems low” and she is holding the front of her face. She goes directly to the guidance office.
Lee reportedly had no answer for the student’s bleeding nose and told the police she simply wanted to convince the student she is “not racist and is a nice person.”
Because white privilege is still a thing, the teacher who was arrested for allegedly beating the hell out of a student was released Friday on her own recognizance. According to the Lawrence Post, she’s due back in court on November 22.