Military helping Fort Worth principal who allegedly left children alone

Carla Westbrook-Spaniel

Credit: Dallas County Jail

Carla Westbrook-Spaniel was charged with abandoning her two small children in a Dallas hotel room.

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by JON NIELSEN

The Dallas Morning News

Posted on May 9, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Updated Sunday, May 9 at 11:49 PM

The military is helping the family of a Fort Worth principal who was arrested for public intoxication and abandoning her three- and four-year-old children in a downtown Dallas hotel room over the weekend.

Carla Westbrook-Spaniel, 44, principal of J.P. Elder Middle School and the wife of an U.S. Army Reserve captain who is on deployment in Iraq, was taken into custody early Saturday.

Her husband, Army Reserve Capt. Keith Spaniel, is a civil affairs officer who left for his third deployment in August. Lt. Col. Kelly Broome, Commander of the 490th Civil Affairs Battalion, said he sent a chaplain to visit Westbrook-Spaniel in the Dallas County jail.

“I understand there’s stress on family members, spouses and children and it can be petty intense,” said Broome. “We're all people and people have times when the stresses get to them and they make mistakes. We’re going to try to help her.”

Early Saturday morning, Westbrook-Spaniel left her two children sleeping in an Adolphus hotel room while she tried to get into a downtown bar. She became angry when an employee at the door said she wasn’t allowed in because she didn’t meet the dress code.

When police arrived, she became more agitated and was taken into custody for public intoxication. Officers later learned that Westbrook-Spaniel had left the children unsupervised.

The children are now with other family members. In addition to police, Fort Worth ISD officials are investigating the incident.

“I regret that we weren’t able to be there for Carla before the situation occurred,” Broome said. “But we’ll be there to try to rectify the situation.”

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