Can A Teacher Be Fired For Drinking In Public
It’s easy to think as teachers, that our personal lives have nothing to do with others and our decisions shouldn’t impact our ability to administer our duties.
However, that isn’t the case as every profession has rules and regulations governing members and their actions.
Teaching is a profession and a respected one in most communities. The trust and respect that goes into this profession give parents and guardians the confidence to entrust their wards to educational institutions.
Knowing full well that their children are in safe hands, communities have high expectations of teachers and any breach of trust by any singular teacher can have an impact on the perception others have of the profession.
Whether teachers can drink in public or not is debated in many areas with the consensus learning towards factoring conditions like the situation, regulations of the institution, presence of students, drunken behavior, and many more.
There’re some conducts the teaching profession terms as “unacceptable professional conduct”.
Any form of misconduct outside the educational setting that has a direct or indirect impact on a teacher’s ability to fulfill their teaching role, or exposes or influences students negatively, can be considered as unacceptable professional conduct.
Like most debates surrounding professional teachers, it’s usually dependent on the regulations implemented by the professional bodies.
We’ll be looking at reasons why teachers shouldn’t drink in public as well as reasons why they should be allowed to drink in public.
Why Teachers Shouldn’t Drink In Public
1. Role Model
Teachers are expected to be role models to their students both inside and outside their school and communities expect the same of teachers.
This is the expectation of the community and parents who willingly allow their children to be trained by teachers.
Teachers are expected to meet these expectations by their governing educational bodies and institution and this gives parents the confidence to commit their wards to these institutions.
Let’s take the example of a doctor. A doctor doesn’t stop being a doctor simply because he’s not in a hospital or uniform, the same way an engineer also doesn’t stop being an engineer because he’s not on the clock.
Although teachers don’t wear uniforms, teaching remains one of the most recognizable and important professions in our communities.
Being part of a professional body means you represent that profession in the community. Teachers who hold a tremendous responsibility of raising the upcoming generation are held to even higher standards.
However, imagine a teacher who teaches children not to drink at their age or even the effects of over-drinking, is seen drunk and disorderly in a bar or somewhere else by a parent or student.
This presents a negative image of the teacher and by extension other teachers and the educational institution as a whole.
Most educational institutions do not ban teachers’ drinking outright, but simply recommend that they don’t do it in public to avoid any negative repercussions.
2. School/District Regulations
Some educational institutions resort to banning alcohol consumption by teachers outside the confines of the institution or in public outright.
This is in an attempt to avoid any possible negative repercussions from any concerned parent or a drunken teacher’s actions reflecting on the educational institution.
Although this doesn’t seem fair, it’s understandable to some degree as any potential issues could be eliminated simply by adhering to this regulation.
3. Driving Offenses
News travels fast in our modern technological society. With the availability of smart devices, people are always looking for something to film at any moment.
Imagine a teacher who teaches about safety, on the news or social media for drunken driving offenses.
Although this may seem personal and unrelated to their profession, the implications could negatively impact the educational institution and the profession in general.
It is worth noting that most educational institutions retain the right to terminate a teacher’s employment over any actions they see as reflecting negatively on the institution.
Any form of negative publicity as a result of a teacher’s actions could result in the termination of their contracts.
That said, minor driver offenses could be neglected by some educational institutions.
4. Drunken Behaviour
Public drinking outside school may be tolerated by some educational institutions, but any form of drunken behavior that reflects on the image of the institution could be seen as cause for disciplinary action or termination.
5. Student Presence
Most parents expect teachers to influence their children positively and drinking in the presence of a student is seen negatively.
Educational institutions serve the community and any complaints and grievances leveled against their teachers are approached with all seriousness.
Even if a parent doesn’t see the teacher drinking, the student may report this to their parents, leading to parents reporting to the institution.
Remember a teacher serves as a role model even outside school and any actions taken can impact the educational institution.
It is therefore recommended that teachers don’t drink in the presence of students outside the confines of the educational institution.
6. Open Container Laws
Drinking in public could be in violation of open container laws which regulate the existence and consumption of alcohol in certain areas.
If violated, repercussions can include suspension and in some cases, an outright termination of the teacher’s contract.
Why Teachers Should Be Able To Drink In Public
1. Legal Drinking Age
While most students would be below the legal drinking age in most states and countries, teachers usually fall above the recommended drinking age.
This means they are legally allowed to purchase any form of alcoholic beverage without any repercussions.
In some rare cases, a teacher may be below the legal drinking age and would not be allowed to legally take in alcohol.
2. Private Life
Teachers are in most cases considered grown-ups and as such capable of making their own decisions.
This means obeying the law and refraining from actions including drinking in school, drinking in the presence of students, drunk at school, drunk driving, or being a general public nuisance out of drunkenness.
Teachers can have their private lives so long as it’s within the confines of the law.
3. Outside Local Area
While a teacher may be easily recognized in their local community or area, this isn’t the case when the teacher is outside these communities.
To avoid any accusations in their local communities, some teachers resort to drinking outside their immediate local community.
Although effective this can be seen as an extreme measure by some teachers. That said, some teachers still resort to this approach as it’s effective and enables a teacher to enjoy a night of indulgence without fear of repercussions.
A teacher outside their immediate community stands a greater chance of not running into a familiar parent in a bar.
Can Teachers Drink Alcohol On School Trips
No. Alcohol can dull the senses and it’s necessary for teachers in charge of students on a school trip to be vigilant. Teachers should therefore refrain from alcohol consumption for the sake of the students their in charge of and themselves.
Can Teachers Drink Alcohol In School
No. Most educational institutions and districts have strict regulations against teachers and alcohol consumption in school. Taking in alcohol could lead to disciplinary actions or even termination of contract.
The Bottom Line
Yes. Teachers can be fired for drinking in public if they’re breaching the district/school’s regulation on drinking, their drunken behavior presented a negative image of the profession or drinking in the presence of students.
That said, it is advisable to verify the school or district’s policy on drinking in public before undertaking such an activity.