What Happened During Arrest

Chapel Hill ISD teacher Charles David Applegate was arrested for intoxication in the high school parking lot, and a few days later the district fired him. A Smith County deputy who is assigned to regularly patrol the campus was near the band hall last week when he noticed someone was passed out in their car.

The deputy approached the vehicle and made contact with the man inside. The man had thrown up on himself before losing consciousness. It wasn't a student experimenting with drugs or a jobless, unshaven degenerate. It was a 38-year-old man who taught at the high school.

East Texas Matters reports law enforcement suspects Applegate was getting high by huffing out of the aerosol can found empty in his vehicle.

The deputy arrested Applegate and took him to Smith County Jail, booking him with public intoxication and the possession of inhalants. In Texas, public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $500.

Possession of inhalant is a more serious offense. The use or intent to use inhaled chemicals to get high is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by jail time of up to 180 days in addition to a fine.

Applegate was eventually released from the Smith County Jail on a $760 bond.

Chapel Hill ISD's Reaction

Applegate was arrested Tuesday, and Thursday the district released this statement:

"On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, Chapel Hill ISD became aware of a report that a teacher, Mr. Charles David Applegate, was found unconscious and allegedly intoxicated on school property. An investigation commenced immediately by CHISD administrators and the employee was placed on administrative leave. The District’s school resource officer was alerted and the District began working cooperatively with the Smith County Sheriff’s Department during its investigation. The District received notification from law enforcement that the employee had been arrested and charged with “Public Intoxication and Possession of Inhalants.”

The employee is no longer employed with Chapel Hill ISD, and the District will make all required reports to state educational authorities.  Chapel Hill ISD places the highest priority on the safety and wellbeing of our students and will continue to work to make our schools a safe, supportive learning environment for all students."

On the school website, the former teacher is listed under his middle name as David Applegate. The district does not provide information on what he taught.

Dangers of Inhalant Abuse

Inhalants range from glue to hairspray to nitrous oxide. They're most often taken by breathing the substance in through the nose. The high feels euphoric, but typically only lasts from a few minutes to half an hour.

Inhalant use can be deadly. Toxic chemicals like paint thinner can kill from the first use, and other inhalants build up in the brain and lungs, causing vision or hearing loss, brain damage, organ damage, even heart failure. Nonprofit America Addiction Centers says inhalant abuse is underreported in the U.S. and that it's important for those struggling with abuse to seek help as soon as possible.