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OC sub. teacher accused of drunken touching

March 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Parents are alarmed after their children report a teacher's bizarre behavior inside a local classroom.

A substitute teacher is under investigation for her bizarre behavior at an Orange County school. What students saw in that classroom sent them looking for help.

School officials say that notification letters were sent to parents Monday informing them of the investigation involving a substitute teacher who was working Friday. She is reportedly in her 50s, has worked as a substitute teacher with the Capistrano Unified School District since 2009.

Orange County Sheriff's deputies arrived at Carl Hankey Elementary School in Mission Viejo to begin interviewing 6th-grade students after at least two boys allege they were touched inappropriately by their female substitute teacher, who may also have been drunk in class.

"We are investigating allegations of inappropriate behavior in the classroom that occurred on Friday," said Marcus Walton, a spokesman for the Capistrano Unified School District.

Authorities say the substitute teacher, who was not being identified Monday, since no charges have been filed, took over a class at 1 p.m. Friday.

The school principal says within 15 minutes, some students were so concerned by her odd behavior they reported it to another teacher. The principal was then called.

"The principal interviewed her, did detect an odor of alcohol, some unsteady balance," said Orange County Sheriff's Dept. Spokesman Jim Amormino.

Deputies arrived within minutes but the teacher had already left. Authorities were unable to locate her Friday to question her about the allegations.

"Hearing that is definitely scary. I'm really proud of the kids for going to the other classroom as you know we've heard and letting the other teachers know that something was going on there," said parent Meredith Karle, a Laguna Niguel resident.

The school sent out notifications to parents Monday. Some parents were upset they found out about it from their children on Friday instead of from the school.

"The notifications went out this morning because the principal needed time to gather more information. It's more responsible to put out correct and proper information than to put out information that's not accurate," said Walton.

Authorities claim they did not know about the alleged inappropriate touching until after school late Friday when some students told their parents.

Officials say they first learned of those allegations when worried parents called the school wanting to know more.

Thirty-five students were in the classroom when the incidents allegedly happened. The students were being interviewed by deputies.

Investigators will also be talking to the substitute teacher to get her version of events. She is not allowed to teach at the district while the investigation is ongoing.