An elementary school student’s mother allegedly sprayed a teacher with lighter fluid and threatened to burn the teacher and the school on Monday, according to charges filed by Durham police.
Officials said Shequella Sheala Leonard, 30, had gone to Eno Valley Elementary School on Monday for a meeting with her child’s teacher.
At one point, police said, Leonard was asked to leave the meeting. Police say she then took a container of lighter fluid out of her purse and squirted it on the teacher.
The fluid hit the teacher in the eyes, and medics were called to treat the teacher.
“We are very grateful that the teacher affected by Monday’s incident is all right. She returned to work Tuesday, and her school family has pulled together to support her. We ask that everyone respect her privacy,” Durham Public Schools Superintendent Bert L’Homme said in a written statement. “This incident is a strange exception to the mutual respect DPS’s families and educators maintain every day. Teachers and families must be partners to help our children succeed in school and life, and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that they feel safe and valued in working with each other.”
Police arrested Leonard on Tuesday, charging her with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, malicious use of an incendiary device and communicating threats.
Eno Valley Elementary School Principal Rodney Berry said, “This was an unusual, scary situation, but our teacher is all right and we have taken steps to ensure our students’ and staff’s safety following this incident. I want to thank all of Eno Valley’s parents and families for their concern.”
Leonard was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.
The Herald-Sun staff writer Greg Childress contributed.