Substitute Art Teacher Arrested for Being Inebriated in Class
November 8, 2017
A substitute teacher for an art class was found incapacitated and under the influence of alcohol before being taken into police custody around 9:30 am on Friday, Nov. 3. During an interview, Principal Matt Eline was unable to comment on any actions being taken in response to the situation, as well as the identity of the individual. Yet, an article published by the Fairfax County Police Department, FCPDNews, identifies the individual as Konbeh Koroma, a 24 year old from Springfield.
However Eline was able to describe the series of events that transpired, praising the students for their prompt and prudent reaction: “I’m really, really happy with how the students reacted and what they did,” he said, “it was perfect.” The students were under the impression that the substitute was asleep, “They tried to wake the person up and they wouldn’t wake up, so they went and told the office. We had an administrator go up to the classroom and try to wake the individual up… Eventually, they finally got them awake, and at that point,the administrator brought them down to the clinic, because they were concerned about their health.”
Once in the clinic, administration became skeptical as to the source of the Koroma’s apparent fatigue. “As we started to speak to them, and I spoke directly to the person myself, it became clear to me, based on visually looking at the person, and also their speech patterns, that perhaps it wasn’t really a health issue, but that maybe they were under the influence of something,” said Eline. “So that’s when we contacted the police, and the police conducted some tests to figure out what was going on.”
While Eline is unaware if the Koroma has ever been called into Robinson before or has any previous ties with the school or county, he knows the substitute was vetted by the county, as he possessed an FCPS badge. The badge is required for all officials and authorities at FCPS schools. New subs must submit a resume with proof of qualifications, evidencing at least 60 hours of undergraduate college credits, and recommendation letters. They must also participate in a mandatory timed online interview, lasting approximately 40 minutes. This process is meant to ensure that hired workers are “enthusiastic, engaged, and dedicated” professionals, according the the FCPS website.
Once they have been vetted, however, almost anyone could fill an absence. “When a teacher is sick,” said Eline, “or there’s a family emergency, or there’s something going on where they can’t attend school, they’ll go into… a sub system online, and they just put their name, school, and what they teach. People from the outside, who are vetted substitute teachers and have a badge, can then sign up for any job.”