"Not illegal": Charges dropped against drunk elementary teacher

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/06/11/not-illegal-charges-dropped-against-drunk-elementary-teacher.html


Given the stress teachers are under I feel for her.


I guess I get the “not necessarily meeting the legal definition for criminal child endangerment” part but how were they unable to ascertain if the teacher drove under the influence or not? Is the defense theory that the teacher got hammered in the parking lot before walking into class?


One can maybe understand a little nip in the teachers’ lounge, but 0.20% is falling-down-drunk, way beyond the ability to teach a class.

0.20 – 0.29% – You’ll feel dazed, confused, and disoriented. Balance and muscle control have deteriorated, and you may need help walking. You may not notice if you injure yourself, as feelings of pain are numbed. Nausea and vomiting are likely, and an impaired gag reflex could cause you to choke on your own vomit. Blackouts occur at this blood alcohol level.”


This is very unreliable. Too much depends on experience and tolerance. I’ve seen chronic alcoholics walking and talking well north of 0.40. It certainly suggests this was not her first dance with the bottle, though. My question would be if there is a stash in her desk or some such. If so, it’s entirely possible she got plastered on school grounds, I guess.


I remember watching the video of her being questioned (or at least, I think it was the one), and I felt a lot of sympathy and sadness for her. It was obviously her bad decision, and probably the result of a serious alcohol use disorder (given how coherent she was at 0.20), but still – what a sad, miserable, humiliating place to be in.


Yes, exactly.

When I started driving, I actually got advice from a fellow teenager to keep an unopened 5th of Jack in my glove compartment, so that, if need be, I could be seen opening and chugging the bottle after I had stopped driving and before any testing was done. “Oh man, I’m so stressed out, I need a drink.”

[ETA: This was obviously terrible advice. It also was specifically for after an accident, so, you are out of the car. But planning for what you would do after a DWI accident is just so astounding, rather than, say, putting cab fare in the glove compartment.]

Drinking in the parking lot before facing a classroom actually does seem plausible.

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I certainly remember my high school music teacher had a few bottles stored in his desk drawers, which he didn’t know we saw. Sometimes he’d come to class all dishevelled and slurring his words while he shouted at us that we weren’t staying in tempo while he conducted (I think he was the one out of tempo).

Not my favourite teacher back then, but I feel for the guy now (long gone, though).


Certainly results vary for a lot of reasons. I still think a teacher with a blood level of 0.20 is not in a state to be teaching a class.


Like much advice from teenage, this is terrible, not only for the normalization of drunk driving, but also the police can change you if you’re drunk in the driver’s seat with the keys with you, whether or not you’re currently driving.

I’ve actually seen advice that’s maybe a little less terrible, which is that if you’re drunk, can’t drive home, and want to fall asleep in your car, you should throw the keys in the trunk so the police can’t wake you and cite you for drunk driving.


I agree, but that is an employment issue for the school to deal with. The DA is correct here. They can’t prove the teacher broke any laws.

No, that’s still pretty terrible advice. Modern cars all have access to the trunk from the back seat. As far as the law is concerned, you’re still in control of that vehicle and can be charged with DUI. The best advice is, if you are planning on going out drinking, make a plan ahead of time. Get someone else to drive, take public transportation, a cab, an Uber, whatever. Give your keys to the bartender. Do something. But make that plan before you start drinking, because once you’re drunk, your judgment goes to shit.


In class at BTHS — GO TECH! — Mr. Brand (our English teacher that year) popped in wearing torn pants, one long inseam torn along his right leg from just under his groin to his knee. He appeared to be suffering from a very rough night of heavy drinking — or perhaps still drunk given his choice of clothing that morning. No one laughed. No one said anything. It was just so sad. There was never much parking space anywhere near Tech back then, so, given that the school held 600 staff members and 5000 students, I doubted that Mr. B. was one of the few who drove in that morning. Subway. He must have ridden the subway. In those torn pants. :pleading_face: Reading today’s topic reminded me of Mr. B., so I looked him up. He passed away in April this year… and it cheered me up: Per the Legacy site, he passed away at the age of 98 – and had an absolutely wonderful and full life traveling across the US and around the world. :smiley:


Is there not a public intoxication statute that would apply?

I think that’s a minor misdemeanor, and requires that the person was disorderly and caused a “disturbance, or harm to self or others.”


Might vary by jurisdiction.

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Drunk Turn Up GIF by Laff


4-6 drinks depending on body weight, is what I read. I would say you definitely shouldn’t be teaching kids then (or driving for that matter), but just speaking for myself I’d say “falling down drunk” is an overstatement. I can bicycle home for half an hour at that point no problem.

I assume that drinking onsite is the (not certain; but not implausible) alternate theory; but given that the prosecution decided not to bring charges, rather than the defense beating them, I’m not sure if it counts as the defense theory or just the most obvious burden of proof problem that the prosecution suspected they wouldn’t be able to solve.

Maybe the complaint was called in several hours after the teacher’s work day began? Enough time to drink some spiked coffee and thin the ol’ alcohol with blood.

When my dad was on civil division for the city he’d have multiple cases like this. The cops knew the person had driven drunk. He knew the person had driven drunk. But enough time had elapsed between actual driving and arrest that even an incompetent lawyer could establish reasonable doubt.


Maybe she was there for the science fair


Yikes. Hopefully for her this is her “bottom”.