BARTOW, Fla. (TCD) -- A teacher faces charges after allegedly biting two students over a jar of pickles.
According to WFLA-TV, the incident occurred in October 2021. The two students were at Bartow Middle School in the store when a teacher, Rhonda Rice, tried to take a jar of pickles. The students reportedly tried to take the jar back, and Rice allegedly bit them on the forearm.
According to WFLA, Rice was able to get the pickles back. The students reported the incident to school administrators, WFLA reports. An aunt of one of the victims reportedly went to police to press charges in November 2021.
According to an affidavit obtained by WFLA, Rice eventually admitted to licking the students, though the aunt believes it was more harmful than just licking. As of March 7, two misdemeanor battery charges have been filed against Rice.
According to WTJV-TV, Rice is scheduled to be arraigned on March 31 and has been placed on paid administrative leave and transferred to another middle school.
Rice has reportedly worked with the Polk County Public Schools district since 2000 and has four prior disciplinary actions on her file for the following incidents: lack of effective preparation of materials on a timely basis, excessive use of district-issued computer for personal business during times that should have been used for instructing/planning for classes, not preparing necessary materials and paperwork for ESE hearing, and repeated failure to complete a scheduled IEP in a timely manner.
Polk County Public Schools spokesperson Jason Geary told WFLA in a statement, "Although she described her actions as playing around with students, we expect our employees to act professionally and serve as models of mature behavior. They must set a good example for students to follow, and anything less is unacceptable."