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CACHE COUNTY — A substitute teacher was arrested on suspicion of public intoxication at a school in the Cache County School District Tuesday, investigators said.
Erin Peck, 32, was arrested and charged with an open container and public intoxication, said Lt. Doyle Peck of the Cache County Sheriff's Office.
A principal called the Cache County Sheriff's Office at about 3:30 p.m. from a school in the south end of the valley on Tuesday, he said. The principal had been notified by people in the school that the substitute teacher had been exhibiting strange behavior, Peck said.
"The principal began to watch the substitute teacher a little bit, and the teacher was walking outside, probably towards her car, and fell down," Peck said. "The principal called the deputy thinking this teacher probably had a medical (problem)."
When the deputy investigated he found there was evidence she had been drinking and was intoxicated, Peck said. She was subsequently arrested, charged booked into Cache Valley Jail and has since been bailed out, he said.
She had been working as a substitute teacher during the day and the level of intoxication indicated she had consumed alcohol before going or sometime during the day, he said.
"We really don't know when she consumed it, but she certainly didn't consume that much alcohol going from the school to her car," Peck said. "Our thought is that she probably had been consuming alcohol during the day."
Cache Valley School District contracts with Kelly Educational Staffing, an outside party, to provide substitute teachers. This is similar to 10 or 12 other school districts in the state who use the same company, according to district human resources director Kirk McRae.
"Substitute teachers are vetted, hired, recruited, and trained by Kelly Educational Staffing, so they're technically not our employees and considered independent contractors," he said.
The principal called the deputy thinking this teacher probably had a medical (problem).
–Lt. Doyle Peck
This substitute teacher had been hired approximately three weeks ago by Kelly Educational Staffing and had filled several jobs before the incident without any problems, McRae said. Now that this case is under investigation she'll no longer be elligible for any positions until this is resolved.
"It's an unfortunate situation, but one that hasn't happened in the past," he said. "We don't anticipate these types of things to happen in the future, but we appreciate the way our staff responded to the situation and there wasn't any time we were aware of that students were exposed to any danger, so we are grateful for that."
Both Peck and McRae said this type of situtation is rare.
"I wouldn't suggest to parents that they panic over their teachers or substitute teachers; this is just a really rare occurrence and certainly an unfortunate one, both for her and for the school," Peck said. "But hopefully now that this has happened she can get some help and get back to a life without alcohol."