TOLEDO, Ohio – Seven teachers are out of a job after they allegedly ditched a sixth-grade field trip to a YMCA camp to drink alcohol at a local restaurant.
A Washington Local Schools investigation found five teachers and two school tutors violated school policy when they left a sixth-grade trip to YMCA Camp Copneconic in Fenton, Michigan last month to consume alcoholic beverages at nearby restaurants, The Toledo Blade reports.
The teachers received their full pay as well as a stipend to chaperone students on the trip and were expected to attend the camp “full-time, 24 hours,” school board president David Hunter told the news site.
“The investigation did point out that all seven did drink” alcohol during the camp trip, Hunter said.
Drinking on the job violates school board policy and the state licensure code, and district officials reported the incident to the state, Hunter said.
The teachers also allegedly violated board policy by leaving camp for more than “a short errand,” school officials told NBC 24.
The Blade identified the teachers as Monac Elementary School teachers Ronald Bushrow, 46, and Jamie Hesselbein, 32; Shoreland Elementary School teachers Gregory Huebner, 37, and Megan Tuttle, 41; and Hiawatha Elementary School teacher Lesley Snyder, 39.
The tutors involved included 29-year-old Gabrielle Hinshaw and 25-year-old Anna Szalkowski.
All five teachers opted to resign before the school board initiated termination proceedings, while district officials simply opted not to renew contracts with the two tutors for next year.
“The first thing the school board is responsible for is the safety of children… before we teach them two and two or how to spell ‘cat,’ ” Hunter said. “Because safety is our No. 1 concern.”
Hunter said that aside from the poor judgement at camp, the educators were good at their jobs.
“Everything I’ve heard about the teachers we are losing is that they were excellent quality teachers,” he said.
The board president stressed that students were never in danger as a result of the employees’ actions because numerous other adults remained at the camp to supervise.
NBC 24 reports both the teachers and tutors involved in the incident will be paid through the end of the school year, on June 8.
The teacher resignations are expected to be accepted by the school board at its June 21 meeting, according to the news site.