Drunk attendance at parents' evening earns ban

10th July 2009 at 01:00

A teacher has been suspended for six months after attending a parents' evening while drunk.

Kathleen Saunders, who was employed at Hemel Hempstead School in Hertfordshire at the time of the incident in November 2007, had shaky hands, glazed eyes and was slurring her words, the General Teaching Council for England ruled this week. It also said that Mrs Saunders had smelled strongly of alcohol.

One of the parents she spoke to that evening was a drug and alcohol-dependency counsellor whose evidence the council called on in reaching its decision.

Mrs Saunders also had two convictions for drink-driving, dating from March 2007 and June 2002, which the GTC said were relevant to her "fitness" to be a registered teacher. The 2007 offence led to Mrs Saunders being banned from driving for five years.

Further allegations that Mrs Saunders was under the influence of alcohol during lessons in October and November 2007 were not proven, the GTC found.

The council accepted testimony that Mrs Saunders smelled of alcohol, but said there was not sufficient evidence that she was under the influence.

Mrs Saunders was suspended for six months and will not be allowed to return to the classroom until she has undertaken a course on alcohol awareness.

She must also provide the GTC with a medical report that she is fit to return to teaching before being allowed back to work.

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