Teacher arrested after showing up at Bluffton Middle School smelling of alcohol

Maria Urbin
Maria Urbin

A Bluffton Middle School social studies teacher was arrested Thursday morning and charged with public disorderly conduct and disturbing schools after she apparently came to work intoxicated and refused to leave school grounds, according to Bluffton police.

The teacher -- identified by police as Maria Katherine Urbin, 47, of Hilton Head Island -- was placed on administrative leave by the Beaufort County School District, according to district spokesman Jesse Washington. He declined to name the teacher.

In an e-mail, Washington said the school district could not discuss the details of the incident because it involved a "confidential personnel matter."

"The district will investigate the details of this incident and make appropriate decisions after all the circumstances have been fully reviewed," Washington wrote.

Urbin teaches sixth- and seventh-grade social studies at the middle school at 30 New Mustang Drive in Bluffton, according to the school's website.

Police responded to a report of an intoxicated faculty member the school at about 8 a.m., according to a Bluffton Police press release.

Another teacher at the school detected the odor of alcohol coming from Urbin and notified school administrators, who removed her from her classroom. Administrators apparently then offered to give Urbin a ride home and called her husband, but she refused to leave and the situation escalated, said Capt. Bryan Norberg, a police department spokesman.

Staff then contacted the school's Bluffton Police resource officer, he said.

"Teachers and administrators reported a noticeable change in her behavior," Norberg said. "The offers didn't go well and she had some issue with leaving. It began to turn into a larger issue."

The school's resource officer arrested Urbin and she was charged with public disorderly conduct and disturbing schools -- both misdemeanors -- Norberg said.

Urbin is awaiting a bond hearing at the Beaufort County Detention Center, according to the jail log.

"The school did everything appropriately," he said. "Public disorderly conduct, for us, is usually a last resort."