A teacher in trouble for drinking at a restaurant

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by greendream, Dec 20, 2011.

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  1. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    I have a friend in a neighboring district who has been "talked to" by her principal because she was seen by a parent drinking a margarita at a restaurant.

    Am I alone in thinking this is completely unreasonable? I go out with my colleagues every Friday and have adult beverages, and my district is virtually identical to hers in terms of size and demographics. No one has ever said anything to me, but now I'm wondering if I'm painting a target on my back? Surely a district couldn't get rid of a teacher because she had a drink at a restaurant? Or can they?
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Who told you the version of the story you received? I bet if you were able to get the version from the parent, the principal, and the teacher they would all be very different.
     
  4. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I'm with a2z, I believe almost none of this story as told.
     
  5. KinderCowgirl

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    Teachers have been "talked to" or worse for posting pics of themselves drinking at a function on Facebook. There was one I believe in Arizona last year fired for posting pics from a bridal shower where she was drinking.

    I believe that in some places they still have morals clauses in contracts, if that was the case, then the admin could certainly act on it. I also believe it's totally unreasonable because it's legal and done off-duty-but I can see that happening.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I've heard tons of stories like that on here- some even say it's in their contract that they can't be seen drinking outside of their own homes. The sad part is a lot of people don't even see anything wrong with contracts like that. I would never, ever work for a school like that. Both my P and VP come to happy hour frequently.
     
  7. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    They have been talking about bringing this sort of thing in over in the UK. It has been called a 'code of conduct' and includes behaviour outside of school. Examples that have been given that would be in breach of th code include drinking in a bar! They would have to fire about 75% of the British teaching profession!
     
  8. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    What Kinder said.
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Wow, really? I can't really say because I've never been to the UK, but I used to work with a lot of people from around various places in the UK (at a summer camp, they came through "camp america") and they all made it sound like drinking was just no big deal over there- they thought the big deal americans seemed to make of it was just downright silly. A lot of them were teachers or were in school to become teachers. Our master teacher taught abroad in London when she was younger and she was telling us that they were allowed to have alcohol in the teacher's lounge after school- she said they'd have a few glasses of wine after the kids left and it was no big deal because everyone took the bus home. We were all a bit jealous hearing that one! That was a good 10 years ago at least...perhaps times have changed?

    I would never work at a school with one of these "moral clauses" or whatever they'd like to call it. How disrespectful to teachers as professionals. Even if I wasn't a drinker myself, the thought that a school thinks they have a right to dictate what normal and legal activities you do on your own time is ridiculous. I have a few pictures of myself at a teacher's function with alcohol in my hand (put on and paid for by the district, btw) on facebook. I thought about taking them down when job searching, but in all honesty if a school is not going to hire me because I have a picture of myself with alcohol in my hand, that's not an environment I want to work in and not a good fit for me.
     
  10. bros

    bros Phenom

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    The clause is usually called a moral turpitude clause.
     
  11. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    It definitely could have happened that way for reasons already mentioned. I guess the lesson here is know your contract.
     
  12. tek_war505

    tek_war505 Rookie

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    Wow that is a little silly there is nothing wrong with having a drink or two now and then. Many people like to have a little alcohol on special occassions like New Years coming up. A good beer goes well with a steak dinner. When I was a kid there was a restraunt I always went to with family and friends where we saw our head football coach drinking beers. I saw nothing wrong with it and my family saw nothing wrong with it. My parents usually had a little alcohol with a nice dinner when we went out to eat. There is a big difference between being an alcoholic and just having a beer now and then to celebrate. What do teachers get in trouble if they are caught smoking a cigarette outside of school too? Sounds really petty and ridiculous to me.

    Every other profession I been in it is perfectly acceptable to go out for some beer after work. When I worked as a programmer in the IT industry we frequently went out to bars with our boss to celebrate the weekend. Everyone I know goes out drinking on the weekends with their buddies from work. I got a relative who is a lawyer who goes out drinking on weekends with everyone in the law firm. One of my friends is a CPA and he goes out with his buddies from work to drink on the weekends frequently. Are all these people in every other profession really evil just because they have a few beers?
     
  13. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Probably every state education code in the country has a "moral turpitude" clause. And I'm sure most teacher contracts have it as well. I know my state and my contract do.

    The problem is the interpretation. Being in a bar is not immoral. Nor is drinking alcohol. Even being drunk in and of itself is not immoral.

    I'd like to see some day how a school district would try to defend firing somebody for "moral turpitude" when all they had done was went to a bar and drank.
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Teaches you to order a rum and Coke.:huh:
     
  15. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

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    totally! I need that LIKE button :)

    But really, we are consenting adults.. and it is perfectly legal for a consenting adult to order an alcoholic beverage when you are NOT on school time.

    That bothers me on so many levels - the thinking that teachers can not enjoy an adult beverage!!:dizzy:
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Being in a bar isn't immoral to you. Others sincerely believe it is.

    ETA: I've never been in a bar, but I don't believe that itself is immoral. Just to clarify.
     
  17. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    To me this is a joke. Many of the teachers I work with go out for happy hour together on payday Fridays and enjoy a drink or two. I recall just last week we had a conversation at lunch of drinking. I don't understand why it would be considered okay for someone to drink at home, but not okay to have a drink out somewhere. Just the same, how its okay to have a drink at home, but its not okay to have a picture of you having a drink at home.
    It just does not seem like common sense.
     
  18. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    There are people who believe that it is immoral for women to wear pants or for men to wear nail polish. I think that the very basic standard we have to go by with these morals clauses is determining what is illegal and using that as the starting point.
     
  19. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    The crazy thing is who else deserves a drink now and then
    more than a teacher? Its sad to think there are folks in this world that would love to take us back to the good old days where
    you could fire teachers for any accusation.

    Rules for Teachers (1915)

    1. You will not marry during the term of your contract.

    2. You are not to keep company with men.

    3. You must be home between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless attending a school function.

    4. You may not loiter downtown in ice cream stores.

    5. You may not travel beyond city limits unless you have the permission of the chairman of the board.

    6. You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man unless he is your father or brother.

    7. You may not smoke cigarettes.

    8. You may not dress in bright colors.

    9. You may under no circumstances dye your hair.

    10. You must wear at least two petticoats.

    11. Your dresses must not be any shorter than two inches above the ankle.

    12. To keep the school room neat and clean, you must:

    sweep the floor at least once daily
    scrub the floor at least once a week with hot, soapy water
    clean the blackboards at least once a day
    start the fire at 7 a.m. so the room will be warm by 8 a.m.
    Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum
     
  20. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yes, certainly. I was simply pointing out what you have which is that different people have different standards of behavior. I agree with you that really the best way to deal with this is by turning to the laws of the land.
     
  21. gutterballjen

    gutterballjen Comrade

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    There was one district where I did a part of my student teaching that was completely tobacco-free. As in, no tobacco product could be on any district property, even if it was hidden in your car. They brought dogs to search each parking lot several times a semester. Not smoking on school grounds, completely acceptable. But what happens if someone leaves a pack in your back seat? Is that worthy of being written up or terminated?
     
  22. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I teach at a catholic school and had to sign a morality clause. Some of the things included were not living together publically before marriage and not publically supporting abortion.
     
  23. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Those professions aren't evil, but they also aren't in charge of caring for other people's children 8 hours of the day. THAT is the difference. Having a drink after work or on the weekend isn't illegal, but if a parent sees you and thinks it is "wrong", they might call the P and complain, which might lead the to the P calling you into the office for a short discussion.

    On the surface, it sounds like that is what happened in this instance.

    I can actually picture this happening in my district. We have a large Baptist population and I could certainly see a scenario where a pair of nice, Baptist parents saw one of their kids teachers enjoying a drink in a local bar or drinking a beer with their meal and decided to call the principal to "express their concern" about this behavior. (in some cases, it wouldn't matter that the parents themselves might be having a beer as well).

    It isn't fair. It isn't right. But it IS the community I live in. I understand and accept that because there are other advantages to living here that outweigh this disadvantage.

    Of course, I have also seen a local P and several staff members attending a local bar and grill on Karaoke Night, so even if a parent DID call to complain, I'm not sure it would amount to anything at all. The P might call you into the office (depending on which school you work for) and basically say "Just be aware of your surroundings", but I doubt it would go past that.

    Oh...and ALL of our schools are "tobacco free" zones. No tobacco allowed at all. Of course, they can't really enforce that on parents that are in their car to pick up kids or attending a basketball game. The rule applies mainly to teachers, admin and staff.
     
  24. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Alcohol is definitly frowned upon in school these days. Up until a couple of years ago we would have a glass of wine or two once the kids had left the premises when we broke up for Christmas or the Summer. Not any more. I just can't understand what the authorities find troubling about adults having a drink in their own time and spending their own money! I agree that if the drinking led onto something criminal such as driving under the influence of some sort of fracas then that is going to another level and could affect your job. having said that I have worked with teachers who have lost their driving licences because of drink. They got their punishment but were still allowed to work.

    On my first ever visit to Chicago with a group of British teachers I was taken to a bar by a Principal of a High school. We were drinking frozen Marguaritas until the early hours before falling out into the street and staggering back to our hotel! I don't think that she would enforce a no alcohol rule with her staff! We pitched up at her school next morning bright eyed and bushy tailed! I was even allowed to take a couple of classes.
     
  25. greendream

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    You described the situation perfectly. It wasn't an official write-up or anything--it was a just a conversation with the principal where he talked about how certain anonymous parents were concerned about her drinking in public.

    Keep in mind that the town she lives in is small--about 20,000 people in the city limits. Those of you living in Chicago, Atlanta, or Las Vegas might as well be on a different planet when it comes to this type of thing. When you go out in a small town, you are pretty much guaranteed to run into your students or their parents.

    Having said that, I live in a town a bit smaller than hers, and we go to happy hour every Friday at a bar/grill where some of our current and former students work as waiters and waitresses. We've never had even a whisper of a problem--that's why it freaked me out so much when my friend told me she had been "talked to."
     
  26. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    If my principal called me into his office for such a thing I would have to ask him why he was wasting my valuable time for such a discussion. In the fifteen minutes that it would take for me to walk to his office, wait for whomever was already in there to finish, be told to be aware of my surroundings and get back to my classroom, I could have typed up next week's lesson plans, input grades for one assignment or made a phone call home to a parent.

    A principal shouldn't relay every silly comment made by a parent. He should nip those things in the bud right away and it shouldn't ever even get to the teacher. I don't let my coworkers (even the principal) know that some parents think they are the next Hitler, dress like a pole dancer, or they are racists. Because those statements are ridiculous - of course my coworkers aren't Nazis, strippers or racists. Idiotic parents shouldn't get airtime.
     
  27. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    If the P decides it's worth a certain amount of his/her valuable time to discuss the issue, then I assume they also feel it is worth your time to listen.

    A parent making a remark to you about a fellow teacher or the P is one thing. A parent complaining about a teacher to the P (and likely threatening to take that complaint to the Super or School Board if necessary) is another matter entirely. The P will have to decide if the issue should be addressed or not based an a much larger picture. And if the P decides (for whatever reason) that it IS worth taking the time for a short discussion, I imagine (s)he would expect you to understand and respect their decision.

    In most cases, parents like this just want to know their "voice is being heard" and "something is being done about the situation". Of course, just because the P says (s)he will do something about it, doesn't mean that "something" will actually be a disciplinary action. The "discussion" allows the P to inform you of a parent complaint (without taking any further action) and also allows the P to tell the parent "I've addressed the situation with the teacher in question". Then the situation is resolved with a minimum of effort.
     
  28. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Then you should come visit/live in the Bible Belt... this sort of thing happens, especially in the small towns.
     
  29. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Yeah both my P and AP are big drinkers themselves so they absolutely wouldn't care. I think it's a regional thing. We usually go out for happy hour on Fridays and often see parents as waiters/waitresses. They'll usually get us discounts or free appetizers to show their appreciation. One always yells to the owner, "the teachers are here!" Any event put on by the district, including back to school whole district meetings, staff appreciation, and end of the year meetings contains alcohol provided by the district. It's an open bar for staff appreciation and the "meetings" usually have a 2 hour "social time" after where they provide food and each person gets two drink tickets. We also had a local company donate tons of wine for our staff Christmas party this year.
     
  30. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Let me clarify. I said different parties would have different versions of the story, not what rockguy paraphrased it to be.

    I believe the teacher was talked to about having alcohol, but I also believe there is something left out of the story somewhere. Whether the teacher was boisterous (notice I didn't say drunk), whether the contract said no alcohol in public, or some other bit that wasn't shared with the OP or not being shared here.
     
  31. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    No, to my knowledge there is nothing about public alcohol consumption in her contract. I've never heard of such a thing for a contract in a public school.

    I wasn't there, but I have no reason to believe she was boisterous.

    My question is this: Why do you think there must be some missing piece to the story? Do you really find this situation so improbable?
     
  32. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I like what a parent said to me once.

    "With my kid in your class, I'd be shocked if you didn't drink."
     
  33. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    That's funny! :)
     
  34. LilyGirl01

    LilyGirl01 Rookie

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    Love it, Sarge!
     
  35. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    The funny thing was he was actually a pretty good kid.
     
  36. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    I grew up in the Bible Belt. I totally agree that this could happen, and it would go exactly the way Cerek described. One of the things I can't stand about that kind of intervention is the language of "concern." As in, "I'm concerned about something I saw."

    Sometimes, it's completely sincere and my grumpiness is misplaced. Other times, it feels like passive-aggressive language that really means, "Do as I think you *ought* to do or else." Grr.

    Anyway: this is a very, very regional issue.
     
  37. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    There are a few industries/jobs where contractual moral turpitude clauses make sense -- movie stars and athletes, for example, where the main value to advertisers (and even a considerable value to the team) is in the image of their star. Even with movie stars, though, having a few drinks isn't going to trip the clause. They'd have to have a few drinks, "borrow" a car and drive it into a harbor.

    The clauses make considerably less sense in the case of teachers. The value of a teacher is not (should not be) in their image, but in how well they actually teach.

    I suspect the moral turpitude clauses are also open to abuse -- never enforced unless someone wants to get rid of a teacher for a reason that's not legal.
     
  38. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    3Sons, I agree. But there are morals clauses in lots of professional areas.

    For example, members of the bar must certify that they are not morally turpitudinous before being admitted to practice. I know: hilarious.

    I've also given several rounds of...testimony? for the Top Secret clearances for friends who are scientists and work at the National Labs. And for former students who applied to be Highway Patrol and police officers.

    So I think it's widely present, though people don't think much about it.

    But I agree with you about enforcement. It's easy to abuse.
     
  39. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I had one paren give me a bottle of wine as a Christmas present :lol:
    The OP's story is definintely either a regional thing or that particular parent had something personally against alcohol.
     
  40. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I would imagine that the principal would EXPECT me to respect their decision, but I would not. And I wouldn't hesitate to let that be known. In turn, I would EXPECT my principal to respect what I have to say and the job I have to do. If he doesn't, he doesn't. I would EXPECT him to tell such a parent that he/she is wasting his/her time - that I was well within my rights to do what I did.

    I can respect a position without respecting the person in that position or his decisions. We can make all sorts of assumptions about what a principal thinks. That doesn't mean for an instant that I have to agree with those thoughts. I have no problem telling a superior when I think he is making a mistake. Calling a teacher away from her duties to "address" a non-issue is a mistake.
     
  41. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Oh, I could definitely see the scenario happening in my neck of the woods. An aquaintance of mine once told me that she saw our kids' teacher in the grocery store buying a lot of beer. She assumed the teacher was having a party. She told me she wasn't going to say anything to the principal about it though. What the heck? Obviously it was a consideration of hers.

    We had a recycling contest several years back at that school. Recyling wasn't big in this town at all and there were limited places to drop off items. Two schools were competing to see how much could be collected. Letters went home begging families to send in their items. One teacher brought in a bunch of glass, some of which were beer bottles. She got a talking-to, even though kids were bringing in the same.
     
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