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. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Dec 21, 2011

    That is outstanding. I have heard many similar types of comments over the years.
    As for the person who said a parent gave them wine for a Christmas gift one year, I have seen that at our school before as well.

    The part about this situation that gets me is; teachers are held to a higher standard because we take care of kids for 8 hours a day. But the parent who is also at the bar when they see the teacher there, why are they not held to the same type of standard; they take care of the children the other 16 hours a day? That logic just does not make sense to me.
     
  2. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Dec 21, 2011

    :yeahthat: I pray I'm never called into another meeting where the first words are "I'm concerned about".......Ugh!
     
  3. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Dec 21, 2011

    The majority of teachers in my area frequent the bars. There are no issues with it here. I suppose if you got completely inebriated and your name was plastered all over the paper, then something may happen. :p
     
  4. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    Dec 21, 2011

    This is such a foreign concept to me. We have staff happy hours, alcohol at our Christmas parties (not at school), and are free to have beer/wine at a restaurant, just like any other adult in the area. At my old school, I went to an overnight conference with my old principal and some other teachers, and we had margaritas with dinner. It was such a nonissue. I'm feel sorry for teachers who are forced to live like children by their communities. :(

    The only way it becomes a problem is if we do something stupid while drinking, like driving.
     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Dec 21, 2011

    Thursday was our last day of school until after the new year.

    Anyway, after school, there were about ten teachers who went to a local bar to have drinks and appetizers. It was hilarious because the entire bar was filled with other teachers. It was like a little reunion because I saw colleagues I haven't seen in years.

    Yes, I had a few drinks. However, I didn't drive. I left my car at my co-worker's house and her husband picked us up and dropped me off at home. In the morning, I got a ride to her house to pick up my car.

    From reading everyone else's responses, though, it seems many areas of the country have different views on this type of situation.
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Dec 22, 2011

    The bottom line, though, is that the principal may not think it is a non-issue, even though you do. Sure, you have the right to disagree with that viewpoint, but the principal still has the final say on whether or not a parent complaint is a non-issue or not.

    It's kind of like a warning I heard from a park ranger several years ago before going on a hike. He reminded us there were black bears in the area and told us what precautions to take. Then he said "Remember, a bear normally will not attack without being provoked, but the BEAR is the one that decides whether it has been provoked or not."

    If you feel secure enough in your job to tell the P (s)he is wrong about this non-issue and you resent him/her pulling you away from your classroom to discuss it, that's great.

    Personally, as long as this was just a discussion and nothing more, I would likely listen to what the P had to say, agree to be a little more prudent in the future and then go about my business as usual once the meeting was over.

    You're right that we can't know for certain what the principal would be thinking, but if (s)he felt it was necessary to have a brief discussion about it, then I would have to respect that since the P is my boss. As long as nothing more came from the discussion, I would assume the P was basically doing CYA so they could tell the parent they "addressed" the situation without actually taking any action. We all choose which battles to fight. In my case, this would be one where I would go in, listen to the P, and then change very little (if any) of what I actually do outside the school.
     
  7. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Dec 22, 2011

    But teachers are held to a higher standard of conduct (whether fairly or unfairly) by many people in the community - especially parents. Even when the parents are doing the same thing as the teacher. The same is true for preachers and other professions that are viewed as being something of a "leadership role" in the community.

    No, it is not logical, but that is just the way it is in some areas (including my own). As I said before, I've seen a local principal and several teachers meet at a local bar/grill on a regular basis, but I can still see this same scenario happening in my district, depending on which parent saw me and which school I was working at.

    smurfette - While I understand the outrage (or strong disagreement) many people feel over this issue, I don't view "Being careful about drinking in public" the same as "being forced to live like children". The fact is that public perception IS a big part of being a teacher (just look at how teachers are viewed and/or presented in much of the national media). Whether we agree with it or not, it IS part of the job we have chosen to pursue. My hometown didn't even have liquor-by-the-drink (which allows restaurants to serve alcohol) until about 3 years ago. For many, many years, we were a "dry town". Now that we have restaurants and bar/grills that DO serve alcohol, it has actually increased business in the downtown area. I've had beers in public and it's never been an issue, but I know my community and I know it COULD be an issue at some point in time. If that means I need to drink tea or coke in a restaurant instead of beer, so be it.

    Of course, I grew up in this community and understand this is the way it is, so it doesn't bother me. It doesn't mean I CAN'T do certain things. It just means I have to be prudent about when and where I do certain things.
     
  8. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    Dec 22, 2011

    Public perception is also important here. If we get arrested or make the news in a bad way, we could find our jobs in jeopardy. It's just that here, not drinking is not seen as higher standard of conduct, it's a personal choice. Having a beer with dinner is also a personal choice that adults are allowed to make here, without fear of being seen as a bad person.
     
  9. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Dec 22, 2011

    To get into the USA we have to fill in a form (it used to be a real form now it is online) and we have to state that we have no criminal record for 'moral turpitude'. I had to look up what that meant as it is a phrse never heard of in the UK. Our nearest would be 'drunk and disorderly'!
     
  10. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Dec 22, 2011

    I should add that I had never had Marguaritas before and had absolutly no idea about how they go straight to the knees!:eek: They slipped down so easily.:lol:
     
  11. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Dec 22, 2011

    Cerek,

    I understand that teachers and others are held to a higher standard. What I don't understand is why Parents are not held to the highest standard? To me the issue of drinking would not be something to hold against parents, but just overall why in society are parents not held to a higher standard, yet the people who work with their children are.
    As you said, it is not logical, I just don't understand where it came from and how it is allowed to continue that parents are not held to a higher standard.
     
  12. LilyGirl01

    LilyGirl01 Rookie

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    Dec 22, 2011

    I think the problem is that parents want their kids to be taught by the best. Students, and sometimes often parents, view their child's teacher as non-humans, and perfect creatures. I guess seeing a teacher in the bar could reflect to the parent that the teacher has nothing better to do but to drink?
     
  13. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Dec 22, 2011

    I'd point out there's a difference between having a record for a crime of moral turpitude and teacher contractual clauses for moral turpitude which do not reference a criminal record.

    For example, having a baby out of wedlock might be considered "moral turpitude", even though not a crime. The clarity of the definitions is important, and it's largely the lack of clarity of the general clauses that opens it to all sorts of abuse.
     
  14. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Dec 22, 2011

    I googled Moral Turpitude and did some research.

    First of all, what came up mostly were acts that were already crimes. Soliciting prostitutes, selling drugs, scamming elderly people out of their social security checks might be examples of this.

    When I could actually find an article that discussed moral turpitude in relation to acts that were not crimes, then generally were things very extreme like making adult movies, selling drug paraphernalia, etc. The thing is that these acts violate normal societal norms for most people - not just teachers. When you think of somebody who makes porn or sells bongs, the word "sleazy" generally comes to mind.

    Drinking in a bar, having a child out of wedlock, living together without being married, or using tobacco are all things that are presently accepted in our society. Even if a teacher "sets a bad example" when he or she does them, it's not moral turpitude.

    The fact is that if your contract has a "moral turpitude" clause, the definition of moral turpitude must be the one that applies to everybody, not just teachers. They can't say that it's morally wrong for a teacher to get drunk or have sex out of wedlock but OK if the person is in some other profession.

    Now, a school can, in theory, put in teachers' contracts specific acts that they are prohibited from doing while employed as teachers. So if they really don't want teachers drinking in bars or shacking up without being married, then they must specifically state that those things are grounds for termination. But any claim that those things fall under "moral turpitude" would most likely be laughed out of court in any wrongful termination lawsuit.

    I used to have a neighbor who would stumble out of a cab at 2am once or twice a week and the next morning ask me for a ride to go get his car. In the eyes of the law, there was nothing illegal or morally wrong with what he did. Unless his drinking affected his work or unless he had something in his contract that stated he would refrain from alcohol use while employed, it could not be considered grounds for termination if his employer found out (provided he had a written or implied contract and was not employed "at will"). It would not have mattered if he was a teacher, a brain surgeon, or a Walmart greeter.

    Employment law is the same regardless of one's profession and anybody who does not realize that should not be a school administrator.
     
  15. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Dec 22, 2011

    The same is true here and things have improved over the years. Like I said, the chances of a teacher being "talked to" for having a beer in a bar are fairly slim, since many of our teachers and P's enjoy the new restaurants, but I CAN see the possibility of it happening.

    Most likely, what would happen is the P WOULD think it isn't serious enough for any real disciplinary action, but might call the teacher in anyway just to have a short conversation. Like I said before, that would let the P tell the parent (s)he had "addressed" the situation (which would pacify the parent) without taking any real action against the teacher for the action.

    It is a very regional issue. I feel the same way about those saying their schools actually sponsor Happy Hours for the teachers or have open bars at teacher functions. While there is nothing wrong with any of that, I cannot picture that EVER happening in our district.
     
  16. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    Dec 22, 2011

    One of my professors in college, who used to teach 5th grade, had this happen to her.

    Keep in mind this was her side of the story:
    She went into Chili's every Friday night to eat with her friends and one night they decided to sit at the bar and have a few drinks. Some parents saw her, approached her and said something regarding a teacher drinking in public.

    She told us the next day she was called into the office after school and was reprimanded for drinking in public with the possibility of her students seeing her.



    Now I don't know the whole story, obviously. Either way that's fairly ridiculous in any manner. I can see from both sides though since we are role models for the kids...
     
  17. Izzy Teach

    Izzy Teach Rookie

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    Dec 22, 2011

    Last year I worked in a private school, and my contract was very specific.

    no smoking or drinking in public
    no living with significant other outside of marriage
    no children out of wedlock
    no divorces

    We had a dress code as well. Women could not wear slacks or sleeveless shirts. We had to wear hose or tights. No bare legs were permitted.
     
  18. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Dec 22, 2011

    In all of these situations, the first question I'd ask the principal who called me into the office to "talk" to me would be where does it say in my employment contract that I am not allowed to consume alcoholic beverages in public?

    Now if the principal can show me where it says that, well then oops, my bad. I guess I won't drink in public any more.

    However, if the principal tries the "moral turpitude" argument, then he or she is in for a fight. Drinking alcohol in public does not violate the moral standards of any community. Sure, it may be against teachings of certain religious groups, but not the population as a whole. I've been to dry counties in the South where I saw more drinking in a Friday night than just about anywhere. Just because it's the "Bible Belt" doesn't make me subject to the rules and tenets of those religions if I do not practice them.

    Now if the principal tried to use the "But it sets a bad example for the kids" argument, let me point out that I do a lot of things my students cannot and should not do. I had a parent of a first grader once complain that I rode my bike in the street. Her child was not allowed to ride his bike in the street, and my doing so might send the message that it was OK for him to go in the street as well. Of course, it's perfectly legal for adults to ride in the street and in most cases, legally mandated.

    And finally, if anything ever ended up in my personnel file as a result of such a meeting, they would have a serious grievance on their hands.
     
  19. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 22, 2011

    :yeahthat:
     
  20. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Dec 22, 2011

    Those are all valid arguments, Sarge. Unfortunately, NC is an "at will" state that doesn't allow unions. We've had P's (and even Supers') in the past that vindictively got rid of employees they didn't like.

    Things are different (for the better) now, but if I decided to take a hard-line stand against the P and challenge him/her to show me where it says thus and such in my contract, there is always the chance the district would decide NOT to renew my contract the following year. I doubt they would do anything during the school year, but once my current contract expired, the district could decide not to renew and would not have to give any reason beyond "His services were no longer needed."

    Now, again, that probably would NOT happen in my district now. We have a good Super who (by all appearances) DOES have the good of the entire district in mind when any re-assignments need to be made. He also fights very hard to keep as many jobs as possible and get as much funding for the district as possible.

    Even if the P did call me into the office, I seriously doubt anything would be placed in my personnel file over it.
     
  21. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Dec 22, 2011

    Well I may be fired after Christmas! I have just been out for a drink with my brother and his wife. In the pub my server was a former pupil, her mother, who is a school Governor, was working in the kitchen, the family on the next table included two former pupils, the raffle was won by one of my current pupils and her sister (a former pupil) and their mom spoke to me as I was leaving! Better start looking for another job!
     
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