BOISE -- A teacher, political candidate, and former doctor is facing charges of aggravated assault after police say she threatened employees at a Staples store with a gun. We are beginning to learn more about Cynthia Clinkingbeard and her behavior leading up to the incident on Friday night.
At the time of her arrest, Clinkingbeard was part of the adjunct faculty at Boise State and the faculty at College of Western Idaho.
Her students say that her behavior over the past few months was, at times, strange. Some students at CWI dropped her class because of what they called erratic behavior.
Allan, Ruth, and Michael Burtcher all took Clinkingbeard's health and wellness class at CWI this semester. They, and other students, say she would often berate students and criticize their political beliefs. They also said she made racially insensitive comments, shared each students' grades with the entire class, and made the class walk her dog around the building.
The Burtchers stopped going to the class and appealed their credits to the department chair.
A week and a half later, Clinkingbeard was arrested for threatening employees at an office supply store with a gun.
According to documents from the Idaho State Board of Medicine, Clinkingbeard is diagnosed with bipolar and narcissistic personality disorder. In 2005, the board said her diagnosis was making her resistant to treatment. They revoked her license to practice medicine.
Michael Burtcher says he is also bipolar, and he knows it is manageable, because he manages his own condition with medication.
When you're bipolar, it's a mental roller coaster for your emotions, Michael explained. You need to find the medication to keep you stable.
But Ruth Burtcher says Clinkingbeard would often talk about a lack of need for most medication. When Ruth found out about Friday's arrest, her teacher's behavior started to make sense.
Now knowing what her situation is, I hope she gets the help she needs. I really do. Because there were moments when she was just this incredible person, very inspiring, and all-of-a-sudden, it would just go away. And she was a totally different person, said Ruth Burtcher, who took Clinkingbeard's class at CWI.
The College of Western Idaho did not want to comment on the matter.
Boise State University says that Clinkingbeard's teaching duties are on hold pending legal proceedings, and she is currently not allowed on campus from the campus.