Durham mom douses teacher with lighter fluid during meeting, police say


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A Durham woman is accused of tossing lighter fluid on her son’s elementary school teacher during a meeting, officials said.

Shequelia Sheala Leonard (Durham Police)

Shequelia Sheala Leonard, 30 became irate with her son’s Eno Valley Elementary School kindergarten teacher during a parent-teacher conference.

Leonard was told to leave the meeting only to pull out a bottle of lighter fluid.

Police said Leonard sprayed the fluid in the teacher’s eyes.

Leonard also threatened to burn the building down during the incident, police said.

Leonard was arrested and charged with assault with intent to kill, communicating threats, and malicious use of an explosive to cause injury, court records show.

She appeared in court Wednesday morning where a judge issued her a $500,000 bond. Leonard’s mother and husband were in court where a request was made to lower her bond.

The judge denied that request.

The teacher was treated by EMS.

Eno Valley Principal Rodney Berry issued a statement where he called the situation “scary.”

He said in part:

“Our teacher is all right and we have taken steps to ensure our students’ and staff’s safety following this incident. I want to thank all of Eno Valley’s parents and families for their concern.”

Durham Public Schools Superintendent Bert L’Homme said the teacher returned to work Tuesday

“We ask that everyone respect her privacy. This incident is a strange exception to the mutual respect DPS’s families and educators maintain every day,” L’Homme said.

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