Florida 'Teacher of the Year' Allegedly Hit Student in the Face, Arrested for Child Abuse

A Florida teacher was arrested after allegedly hitting a student in the face causing them to bleed just days after being honored as "Teacher of the Year" at their school.

Caroline Melanie Lee, a 60-year-old English teacher at Darnell-Cookman Middle/High, in Jacksonville, was arrested Friday and charged with felony child abuse, according to Duval Schools Police.

The incident occurred just two days after she received the award from the Duval Public School District. The altercation followed an online confrontation between Lee and one of her students in the comments of an Instagram post recognizing Lee's award, AP reported.

On Wednesday, the Duval County Public Schools Instagram account posted a photo of Lee and mentioned that she was named "Teacher of the Year." Many comments on the post questioned why Lee was given the honor, and some accused Lee of using the "n" word in class as well as other microaggressions.

While the post has since been deleted, Lee replied to one student's comment claiming she used the "n" word while reading Of Mice and Men to the class. A few days later, Lee asked the student who made the online comments to speak privately with her in the classroom.

When the student came to the classroom, Lee allegedly hit her in the face multiple times causing her nose to bleed, AP reported. According to the student, Lee reached across the table and physically assaulted her.

But Lee denied touching the student and told police she wanted to talk privately with her because she perceived the online comments as "a threat to kill her." She also told police she "did not feel the need" to report the comments to staff because she was "not afraid," AP reported.

Surveillance footage from the school showed Lee walking through the halls "aggressively" before her interaction with the student. A few minutes later, the student left the classroom and walked down the hallway to report the incident to the guidance counselor.

In a statement, Duval Schools Superintendent Diana Greene said the alleged incident was "beyond disturbing" and that school officials are cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

The AP reported that no court records have been filed with the Duval County Clerk of Court yet and it is unknown if Lee has hired an attorney.

Teacher arrested after hitting student
A Florida teacher was arrested and charged with felony child abuse after allegedly hitting a student and making her nose bleed. The incident occurred just two days after Caroline Melanie Lee was named "Teacher of the Year" at the school she taught at. vmargineanu/Getty Images

Last week, Newsweek reported about a teacher in California who was fired after a video of her mocking Native Americans went viral online. In the video, math teacher Candice Reed was attempting to describe the trigonometry mnemonic device "soh-cah-toa."

The footage was recorded by a Native American student in the classroom at John W. North High School. In the video, Reed was wearing a feather headdress and mocked Native American culture.

After the footage of the incident went viral, Reed was placed on leave. The Riverside Unified School District said in a statement that her actions were "completely unacceptable."

On Twitter, a former student of Reed shared a photo of her from 2012 wearing a Native headdress. "Dancing from one end of the room to the other, math teacher Candice Reed wears an Indian headdress to emphasize geometry basics," the caption on the photo read.