Beaufort County teacher publicly reprimanded for drinking on school grounds

The South Carolina Board of Education issued a public reprimand Tuesday to a Beaufort County School District elementary school teacher accused of possessing and consuming alcohol on schools grounds last year.

Stephanie Elizabeth Fries, a third-grade teacher at Okatie Elementary School who has more than 17 years of teaching experience, including nine with the district, was placed on paid administrative leave May 21, 2018, the same day she is accused of drinking on campus, according to Beaufort County School District spokesman Jim Foster on Tuesday afternoon.

Fries returned to work Aug. 15, 2018, and no further issues have been reported, he said.

The incident was reported to the S.C. Department of Education on May 25, 2018. Fries waived her right to a hearing, instead accepting alternative resolution, according to the state’s written order.

“Ms. Fries communicated her remorse on the matter. She has given the SCDE documentation to demonstrate that she is receiving appropriate assistance,” according to the order.

The state board voted Tuesday to issue the reprimand, which allows Fries to retain her educator certificate, saying the evidence supported “a conclusion that Ms. Fries engaged in unprofessional conduct.”

A state public reprimand was also issued Tuesday for Hilton Head Island High School principal Amanda O’Nan, who was accused of having sex with an on-duty Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputy on school grounds in 2016.

In a June 2018 interview obtained by The Island Packet through an open records request, former Beaufort County deputy DeJuan Holmes admitted to having sex inside Hilton Head High School with principal Amanda O'Nan while he was on duty back in 2016.