There are plenty of stories of misbehaving students that involve weird scenarios, and we’ve all heard of unfortunate scandals involving school staff and children in their care, but this particular teacher-student story is just plain weird.
In October, something went down between a teacher and two students at Bartow Middle School in Bartow, Florida. There are two versions of what transpired, depending on who you ask.
Apparently, two students were working in the school store when teacher Rhonda Rice grabbed a jar of pickles. The students tried to take it back.
If you ask Kathy Toro, the aunt of one of the students, what happened is that Rice bit the two students on the arm.
“She just plainly bit them on the forearm and, of course, they released and she was able to get the pickles but there’s other ways to do that,” Toro told WFLA-TV in Tampa.
In the resulting affidavit, Rice said she licked the students’ arms but didn’t bite them, according to the report. A Polk County Public Schools spokesman said Rice claimed she was just “playing around” with the students.
The students reported the incident to the school after it happened, but after the school didn’t seem to do anything about it, Toro involved the local law enforcement.
“I think she needs to learn what she did and what she did was wrong,” she said of Rice.
“Even if … she did lick him, but I don’t believe she did, it’s still not acceptable to me.”
Rice now faces two misdemeanor battery charges, and she is set to be arraigned on March 31.
It’s not the first time she has faced disciplinary action since her career began in 2000.
In 2001, at Boone Middle School, Rice received “verbal reprimand due to lack of effective preparation of materials on a timely basis,” and again the same year she got a “letter of reprimand due to not preparing necessary materials and paperwork for ESE hearing,” according to information obtained by WFLA.
In July 2008, at Sleepy Hill Middle School, she was given a “one-day suspension due to excessive use of district-issued computer for personal business during times that should have been used for instructing/planning for classes.”
In March 2015, at the same school, she received a “verbal warning with a written confirmation for repeated failure to complete a scheduled IEP in a timely manner.”
For this most recent incident, Rice was placed on a paid administrative leave and given a review. After the review, Rice was given a three-day suspension and transferred to Sleepy Hill Middle School.
She has since been placed on paid administrative leave, according to WFLA.
“Although she described her actions as playing around with students, we expect our employees to act professionally and serve as models of mature behavior,” Polk County Public Schools spokesman Jason Geary said in a statement.
“They must set a good example for students to follow, and anything less is unacceptable.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.