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PLEASANT GROVE — A first year preschool teacher who works in a class with autistic children was cited for being intoxicated at work Tuesday.
The Mount Mahogany Elementary School teacher failed sobriety tests administered by police, according to Alpine School District spokeswoman Rhonda Bromley.
Pleasant Grove police, however, said Wednesday that when given a breathalyzer test, 23-year-old Kaylee Hoffman blew a .043 — or half the legal blood-alcohol limit to drive in Utah.
The district earlier had reported Hoffman was above the legal limit for driving, which is .08.
Hoffman was issued a citation for public intoxication, a class B misdemeanor, and released. The police officer who arrested Hoffman did not notice any visible signs of impairment such as slurred speech or trouble walking, said Pleasant Grove Police Lt. Mike Roberts.
However, she was issued a citation "because she was the primary care provider for those children at the time," Roberts said.
"Those three adults did not have any indication by the way she was talking or acting or smelled that she was intoxicated," Bromley said." -Rhonda Bromley
The arresting officer felt because Hoffman was in charge of providing for special needs children she needed to make good decisions. But because she had been drinking, the officer felt she was potentially putting those students at risk, Roberts said.
Bromley said the arrest happened after lunch when the school administration received an anonymous phone call that the teacher in question was drunk. "The principal immediately had her come down to the office," she said. "There was never a time the students were in danger."
Police, however, had a different story.
Roberts said one of the adult aides in Hoffman's class detected an odor of alcohol on her breath in the morning and contacted the principal about 9 a.m. The principal questioned Hoffman, who denied drinking and was sent back to her classroom when no signs of impairment were found, he said.
The Alpine School District, however, said the principal did not talk to Hoffman.
In the afternoon, police received an anonymous call from a person who said Hoffman was intoxicated and sent an officer to the school to investigate, Roberts said. That's when she was called to the office again and given a breathalyzer test.
Bromley said the class Hoffman taught in had three other adults in the room at all times, a master teacher and two aides, because of the special needs children. She said none of the other teachers nor the school administrators detected any red flags.
"Those three adults did not have any indication by the way she was talking or acting or smelled that she was intoxicated," Bromley said.
Hoffman immediately resigned after being cited, Bromley said. She said this was Hoffman's first job out of college. The school had been in session for about 2 ½ weeks.
A mother of one of the 3-year-old students in Hoffman's class said she was "shocked" by the news, noting that Hoffman "seemed like a great teacher."
The Alpine School District said Wednesday the four children who were in Hoffman's class will now be bused to two different schools in Orem and Saratoga Springs.