Local News

Chatham student charged with spitting in teacher's drink

Posted March 28, 2012 12:16 p.m. EDT
Updated March 28, 2012 11:47 p.m. EDT

— A Chatham Central High School student was arrested Wednesday after deputies said he was caught on camera spitting and dumping a foreign substance into his teacher's drink.

Charles Ronald Hart "Ronnie" Aschenauer, 16, of 163 Paw Paw Road in Gulf, was charged with felonious distribution of certain prohibited foods. He was released on an unsecured bond.

Chatham County Schools spokeswoman Beth McCullough said Aschenauer also has been disciplined by the school, but she declined to elaborate.

Aschenauer's parents said late Wednesday that their son has been suspended and that school officials have recommended that the suspension remain in place through the end of the school year.

"It was stupid. He shouldn't have done it. I feel sorry for the teacher. It was a stupid teenage thing," Mark Aschenauer said.

Mark and Jane Aschenauer said their son doesn't even know the teacher involved, but he plans to apologize to him.

The unidentified teacher became nauseated after drinking from a water bottle on Monday, and Maj. Gary Blankenship of the Chatham County Sheriff's Office said security video in the school showed a student spitting and pouring a small amount of lubricant for a musical instrument in the bottle.

"We checked with poison control just as a precaution to make sure that there were no issues, and they gave some advice on the little amount that the teacher had ingested. So, we believe everything is just fine,” McCullough said.

Aschenauer found a water bottle in the school auditorium last Friday and dumped some lubricant in it, his parents said. The lubricant is primarily mineral oil, they said.

The incident has created a chaotic atmosphere at Chatham Central High, students said.

"Every classroom you go in, the students are talking about it, the teachers are taking about it. So, you are hearing all these different stories," junior Amy Armstrong said.

Some students chanted "Free Ronnie" as they left school Wednesday afternoon, saying they believe he was being punished too much for a prank.

"He was just kind of showing off. I guess, maybe, just trying to get his name around the school," senior Stone Gaines said, calling Aschenauer a good guy who fell in with the wrong crowd.

"I just felt bad for him that he got caught up in all that stuff, doing stupid stuff,” Gaines said.

Armstrong said she thinks Aschenauer deserves the punishment he gets.

"That's just a stupid thing to do," she said.

A year ago, a student at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh was suspended and charged with assaulting a school employee after putting hand soap in his teacher's soft drink.

Authorities said Aschenauer likely would be placed on probation if convicted of the low-level felony.