PHOENIX — An Arizona high school teacher who feared she was too inebriated to drive took a cab to work, then continued drinking throughout the day until students alerted administrators that she was cursing and yelling at them, authorities said Thursday.
Students at Poston Butte High School in San Tan Valley, about 35 miles southeast of Phoenix, called the school's main office Wednesday afternoon to report the behavior by Kathleen Jardine.
The school's principal and a sheriff's deputy met with Jardine. According to the deputy, Jardine initially denied being intoxicated. She later admitted that she had been drinking the night before, that morning and during lunch in her classroom.
The math teacher had a blood-alcohol level of 0.205 percent, which is 2 1/2 times the legal limit for drivers. A school security officer found a bottle of vodka, a bottle of white wine and a bottle of Sunny D orange drink in her classroom. Authorities said Jardine told them she took a taxi to school because she thought she was too intoxicated to drive.
Jardine, of Chandler, was cited with one count of consumption of alcohol in public, but she could also face disorderly conduct charges. After receiving her citation, the 57-year-old was released to her daughter.
A message left at a phone number listed for Jardine was not immediately returned Thursday.
Florence Unified School District spokesman Richard Franco said school officials could not comment on personnel issues and because there's a pending criminal investigation.
The incident is the second time Jardine has been accused of being intoxicated in class. In 2011, she was fired from a Belen, New Mexico, high school for violating the district's no-alcohol policy. Belen Schools Superintendent Ron Marquez said students in a math class reported that Jardine was slurring her words and staggering. A school nurse examined her and found her to be under the influence of alcohol. She was immediately fired.
"Since that time I have never been called regarding her about a reference," Marquez said.
Online court records show Jardine pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in Albuquerque in February 2004. She was referred to a treatment program and ordered to undergo alcohol screenings and DWI school.
Franco said the Florence Unified School District does a full FBI background check on all prospective employees. Officials also verify teaching certificates, references and letters of recommendation, he added.
"I can tell you, as a district, we can only go off of what's reported on applications," Franco said. "If nothing else is reported to us through the application process or any other means, there's no way of us knowing about it."