The Short of It
In Ankeny, Iowa, kindergarten teacher Jennifer Rich was arrested after a concerned parent spotted an open can of beer in the classroom and reported Rich to the police. The parent was volunteering in the classroom for the Valentine's Day party.
Rich, 40, who has been teaching at East Elementary School since 2001, was charged with public intoxication and child endangerment after she tested positive during a preliminary breath test. Officers also found a leather bag in her classroom that had a six-pack of beer in it; four beer cans were full, but two were empty.
Police said Rich's eyes were bloodshot, and since she tested positive on a preliminary Breathalyzer test, it confirmed that she had been drinking on school grounds during school hours.
Parents were understandably upset to learn that their children were in the care of a teacher under the influence of alcohol. The question is, was this a one-time incident or has she been teaching under the influence for years? And, what would drive a teacher to risk her entire career and the safety of the children in her care just to have a couple beers?
The school district put Rich on administrative leave immediately, and the school conducted its own investigation. It gave her the option of being fired or resigning. She resigned on Monday night.
As a parent, I would be irate that this woman had the nerve to drink alcohol when I had entrusted my children to her care, but I'd also be concerned that something terrible must be going on in her own life to get her to this point.
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