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Teacher found drunk at Rushe Middle School in Pasco may reach state deal

LAND O'LAKES — Kylene Nelson resigned her job as a Pasco County language arts teacher shortly after she was found drunk at Rushe Middle School in March. Now she has reached a proposed settlement agreement with the Florida Department of Education that could see her back in a classroom after a lengthy suspension.

Under the proposed deal, Nelson, 43, agrees to have her teaching license suspended through June 2013. During that period, she may not be employed by any public school or hold any position that requires a Florida teaching certificate.

She may, however, renew her certificate in case she chooses to return to teaching after her suspension ends. If Nelson goes that route, she would face an additional three years of probation. Conditions would include substance abuse counseling and fines.

According to sheriff's reports, Nelson had been found reeking of alcohol during the school day on March 18. After taking a drug and alcohol test, she ran from the Rushe Middle School campus to a nearby recreation center, where she passed out.

A test found her blood-alcohol level to be 0.26, more than three times the level at which Florida law presumes impairment. Nelson, who initially denied having been drinking, told the deputy that she had consumed an entire bottle of vodka.

"Just leave me alone," she told the deputy. "I want to die."

It was the second time in three years that Nelson had been found drunk at a Pasco school.

School district records show that on Oct. 26, 2006, Nelson did not show up for her third period class at Seven Springs Middle School. The school's resource officer and assistant principals found her asleep in her car, surrounded by bottles of wine.

She was placed on a leave of absence after that incident and completed a substance abuse program, according to school records. The district gave her a fresh start by transferring her to Rushe Middle.

After the March incident at Rushe, Nelson faced the possibility of having her teaching certificate revoked permanently.

The Education Practices Commission will take up the proposed settlement when it meets later this month.

Teacher found drunk at Rushe Middle School in Pasco may reach state deal 10/12/09 [Last modified: Monday, October 12, 2009 6:59pm]
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