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Teacher fired for DUI will not return to the classroom

A middle school teacher in Murray County, Georgia, pleaded no contest to a charge of DUI last May and was fired from her job. The school superintendent recommended the teacher's contract not be renewed last spring.

The ex-teacher requested a hearing over the dismissal and arranged for a meeting with the school board. During the recent meeting, she made an impassioned plea to be allowed to return to her classroom this fall, but was turned down by board members who upheld the decision of the superintendent not to renew her contract. Her lawyer also argued during the hearing that she had completed all recommended substance abuse treatment and should be rehired.

Saying that she loved both the school system and the children, the teacher offered no excuses, but did say she believed that she deserved a second chance after the DUI arrest. She said that had come to accept that she was an alcoholic and was working to get better.

The seven members of the school board listened to testimony for four hours and deliberated for about an hour before returning a unanimous decision supporting the superintendent's refusal to renew the teacher's contract. Among the reasons given by the school board were willful neglect of duties and sufficient cause for termination. The school board also said the teacher no longer enjoyed the respect of her students and their parents and of other teachers in the school.

The teacher was originally arrested for driving 28 mph over the legal speed limit. Before she could be pulled over by police, she hit a car that was stopped at a red light and barely avoided another car as she was pulling into a nearby parking lot. Blood tests showed the woman's blood alcohol content was 0.31 percent, with the legal limit in Georgia set at 0.08. She was given 12 months of probation and ordered to complete an alcohol treatment program. She may decide to appeal the school board's decision.

Source: Times Free Press, "Chatsworth teacher arrested for DUI will not get her job back," Mariann Martin, Aug. 10, 2011