An elementary school teacher in Florida left a 4-year-old boy at home alone while she went to buy marijuana, authorities said.
Marsha Dolce, 26, was arrested Saturday after the child was found wandering alone outside of her home in Davenport at about 6:49 a.m. while wearing only a T-shirt and underwear, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities would not say if the boy was Dolce’s son or not.
Dolce, a fourth-grade teacher at Lauren Elementary School in Poinciana, returned to her apartment complex on Village Way at about 7:51 a.m. and told deputies she had to leave the house unexpectedly just before 7 a.m. to help a friend whose car broke down.
Investigators later found marijuana in a grinding device on the kitchen counter and text messages on Dolce’s cellphone sent to her at 2:32 a.m. that morning, including one with an address in Winter Haven and another that read, “I’m here.”
Dolce, who has been employed by the Polk County School Board for roughly three months, later admitted to deputies that she fabricated the story about her friend having car troubles, according to the sheriff’s office.
“She told them that she that she wanted to get some marijuana and the 4-year-old boy was asleep, so she assumed she could go to Winter Haven quickly to meet a friend named Dre and get some from him,” the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. “She said that she and Dre returned to her home, had consensual sex, and she took him back to Winter Haven.”
The child, who was not identified, was later taken from Dolce’s custody. Dolce is now facing charges of negligent child abuse without great bodily harm, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
“This is not what we expect from a person in a position of public trust,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. “She left her four-year-old home alone to go find some marijuana. To think about this poor scared child crying in the street not knowing where mom was – it is just a shame and should not have happened.”
A spokesman for Polk County Public School told The Post that district officials are in the process of firing Dolce after her arrest.