Largo High Teacher Accused of Drinking, Smoking Pot With Students

According to the Pinellas School District, Joelle Bishop drank alcohol and smoked marijuana with students while she drove in a car with them Jan. 3. Bishop has denied the accusations and requested a hearing.

A Largo High teacher could be fired after she was accused of smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol with students.

According to documents presented at Tuesday's Pinellas County School Board meeting, Joelle Bishop allowed a male student to drive her in her car to pick up two other female students and go to a friend's house. Witnesses said Bishop was drinking alcohol and offered it to the two girls; she also smoked marijuana with them in the Jan. 3 incident, the documents state.

Superintendent Michael Grego recommended in a memorandum to the board that Bishop be fired after a district investigation found she had violated five school board policies, including committing a misdemeanor criminal act, having an inappropriate relationship with a student and misconduct.

Bishop denied the accusations, saying that she did not have any type of personal relationship with the male student.

School board members voted unanimously Tuesday to suspend Bishop without pay, but they were not allowed to decide if she should be fired because she has requested a hearing with a state board, according to TBO.com. The Department of Administrative Hearings "will make a recommendation to the school board, which will make the final decision," TBO reports.

Bishop was first employed with the Pinellas School District as a substitute teacher in May 2011, then got a teaching position at Largo High that August, according to district documents. Her annual salary is $37,095.

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