Teachers need Alcohol Awareness Too

by: Mike Miller

I don’t know if you saw the story from the United Kingdom recently about the teacher who was busted for drinking while in the classroom.  The 50-year-old Penelope Haddon claimed she had no awareness that there was an issue with her drinking.

Would you have an issue with her teaching you? Maybe not.  Your children – absolutely.

To her credit, if there is any credit to be had, Miss Haddon was drinking white wine out of a plastic water bottle.  There is no issue if you hide it, right?

Follow Your Nose!

Well, she wasn’t too good at hiding it either.  She absolutely reeked of alcohol.  Some of her colleagues became suspicious and eventually fished the empty “water” bottle out of the rubbish bin and confirmed the smell of wine.

The duty to confirm the suspicions came when deputy headteacher Colin Williams decided to taste the dregs of the water bottle and confirmed it was indeed white wine, cheap wine, but wine nonetheless.

Perhaps, Miss Haddon did not believe she would be caught because she was teaching primary school children, aged 5-12.  One of the students testified she had been stumbling around the classroom.

Despite the testimony of many children and teachers, Miss Haddon denies allegations that she was under the influence of alcohol at work and had brought and consumed alcohol on school premises.

Given the evidence and all the testimony against her it is not surprising that the General Teaching Council for Wales panel found her guilty of the allegations and considered punishment including whether to reprimand, suspend or prohibit Miss Haddon from teaching.

Alcohol Awareness Course          

Found guilty, Miss Haddon was instructed to take an alcohol awareness course before trying to return to work.

In addition to the alcohol awareness course, the disciplinary panel sitting in Cardiff suspended Miss Haddon from teaching in maintained and non-maintained special schools until the new school year.

The moral of this story – use common sense.  In all my years of counseling I have yet to have a teacher in class due to drinking in their classroom. Use alcohol responsibly.