Substitute Teacher Arrested For Child Abuse After Letting 7th Grader Hit Vape In Class. “I Was Just Trying To Fit In.”

EUSTIS, Florida—A substitute teacher was arrested Friday for child abuse after letting a 7th grade student hit a vape pen, because she was just trying to fit in, according to an arrest affidavit.

The student told the Eustis Police Department school resource officer (SRO) he and his friend were talking in their last class period Tuesday when the friend made a comment about vaping and Jennifer Gaine Hale, 50, of Mount Dora said she had one, the affidavit states; Hale was substituting at Eustis Middle School and in charge of the class.

The boy walked up to her desk and Hale pulled out a multi-colored nicotine vape and asked him if he wanted to “hit it.” Hale told the boy not to tell anyone because she did not want to get into trouble, according to the affidavit. The boy hit the vape once and gave it back to Hale. Hale is alleged to have told him to be careful because there was a salt-like substance on it, but the boy did not know what it was.

Another student reported the incident to the school’s administration and the EMS principal questioned Hale on Wednesday while she was on campus substituting for another class. Hale reportedly admitted the misdeed and told the principal, “I was just trying to fit in.”

The principal escorted Hale off campus and told her not to return and reported the incident to Lake County Schools Human Resources and reported it to the SRO.

The following day, the SRO and the principal met with the boy’s mom, who was “very upset” and told the SRO she wanted to press charges, the affidavit states. Hale was arrested for child abuse at her home in Mount Dora Friday and booked into the Lake County Jail; she was released Sunday on $1,000 bond.

Hale is no longer employed by Lake County Schools, LCS Administrative Coordinator of Communications Sherri Owens told Inside Lake Monday morning.

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