A professional dispute between a Sarasota County, Fla., School District principal and her substitute teacher led to an arrest last month when the teacher allegedly spread human feces on the tables and grills of a local park where the principal was hosting a birthday party for her child later that day, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
On the morning of Dec. 1, Phillippi Shores Elementary School substitute teacher Heather Carpenter, 42, went to Sarasota County’s Urfer Park, near Bee Ridge Road and Honore Avenue, and spread feces on the park’s tables and grills at its pavilion, according to a Sheriff’s Office report. Phillippi Shores Principal Allison Foster was scheduled to host a birthday party there for her daughter that morning.
A witness saw a woman with light brown hair and a gray minivan come to the park at around 6:30 a.m. and put the feces on the tables and grills. The witness said the woman was wearing blue gloves and a blue mask.
Foster’s and Carpenter’s children were in the same class and Foster invited all of her daughter’s classmates to the party, according to the report, including Carpenter’s child. At the same time, Foster was helping Carpenter with a professional issue and Carpenter allegedly did not like the way she was dealing with the matter, the report indicates.
Carpenter had been working as a substitute teacher in Sarasota County since October 17, according to a district spokesperson. She is not currently serving as a substitute for the district and she will not be able to work as a substitute or volunteer while there is an active law enforcement investigation.
Carpenter did not respond to a request for comment Monday. Foster did not respond through a district spokesperson. Representatives for Sarasota County Schools said they did not have any additional information on the incident.
Carpenter was charged with a third-degree felony of damaging property and criminal mischief. The damage to the park totaled more than $2,300, according to the report. Sarasota County had to replace seven tables and two grills, as well as expend $150 in cleaning costs for staff and $110 to reimburse those who had rented the pavilion spot.
Carpenter is pleading not guilty, according to court documents. The Sheriff’s Office report stated that she told deputies that she “intentionally placed human waste and fecal matter on the tables at Urfer Park with the intent of disrupting the birthday party planned by Foster.” She told deputies she was “displeased” with how Foster was handling a professional issue.
She was arrested on Dec. 7 but posted bond the next day, according to the Sheriff’s Office.