EUSTIS, Florida (WESH) — A substitute teacher in Lake County is facing child abuse charges after investigators say she let a seventh grader take a hit off her vape pen.

Jennifer Hale was arrested after it happened last week at Eustis Middle School. According to the police report, it happened in the last period of the day. It says the substitute teacher heard the seventh grader talking about his friend wanting to vape and gave him hers to take a hit.

Jennifer Hunter is a mom to an eighth grader at Eustis Middle School.

“Teachers. It’s scary now,” Hunter said. “I never thought that a substitute teacher would give my child that or someone else’s child any of that stuff. Just other students.”

According to a Eustis police report, a seventh grader said a substitute teacher named Jennifer heard his friend say he wanted to vape, and that she said, “I have one,” and pulled it out.

The seventh grader says she then asked if he wanted a hit and told him not to report it.

“You can’t do this. You just can’t do it,” Eustis police Chief Craig Capri said. “This should be common sense.”

Eustis police say Hale is facing child abuse charges.

“She has a responsibility to that classroom to protect kids. Not abuse them,” Capri said.

According to the report, when the principal confronted Hale about what happened, she admitted to it and was escorted off campus and told not to return.

Capri says the reason she gave for doing it was surprising.

“We contacted her she immediately post-Miranda confessed to doing it,” Capri said. “Her response was she just wanted to fit in. I don’t get it. What is there to fit in? You’re there to teach a class, not to fit in.”

And Hunter feels the same.

“They don’t need to fit in with the kids at all,” she said. “They need to be more parent-like than fitting in with the kids.”

The Lake County School District said Hale is no longer employed with the district. They said she started substitute teaching for the district in November of last year and had no prior disciplinary issues. Hale was released on a $1,000 bond.

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