CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- Parents and staff at Plantation Oaks Elementary School were shocked and dismayed after one of the school's teachers was arrested Thursday after cocaine was allegedly found inside her purse during school hours.
"We are shocked, shocked and upset," said Clay County Public Schools spokesperson Darlene Mahla reacting to the arrest of fifth grade math teacher Ashlea Eucker, 23.
Eucker was very upset while at school Wednesday due to a personal issue and was meeting with Principal Lee Oliver, the assistant principal and Guidance Counselor Priscilla Dobson.
Oliver suggested Eucker take the rest of the day off and not go back to the classroom. When Dobson went back to her room to get Eucker's purse, police say a small baggie containing a white powder was plainly visible in the unzipped purse along with a straw.
Police were called and a field test tested positive for cocaine, less than a gram. Eucker spoke with police, then was arrested on charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphanalia. Eucker is in her first year as a full time teacher at the school and well liked by the school administrators and her fellow teachers.
"They talked very very highly of Miss Eucker, that she has been a great teacher all year long, and was a superb math teacher," Mahla said. "They have had no issues with her, students have never reported any kind of issues."
Bonnie Upright came to pick up her second grade daughter, said it was a great school and had this reaction to the arrest:
"If it is true, it is certainly a disappointment that a teacher would have drugs on her person, particularly at the school," Upright said. "I find that more problematic than what she does in her personal life, but I think we need to let the legal system play out."
"Leave it at home, don't bring it to school, kids don't need to see that," said parent Joe Camarillo.
"When they are under the influence of stuff it is not good, plus when you are with kids, you shouldn't be doing that," said parent Melinda Pate.
Eucker is suspended with pay while the school board investigates. After that investigation is complete, Superintendent Charles Van Zant will make a recommendation on her status to the school board.
First Coast News talked to one of Eucker's neighbors, who said she was a straight A student and his heart goes out to her and her family. A parent whose daughter had Eucker as a math teacher and she was astonished at hearing the news and said Eucker was an awesome teacher.
First Coast News