Drunk teacher passes out in class, blows .34


A QUEENSLAND teacher popped Valium and swilled vodka before passing out on a desk in front of Year 2 students in a shocking breakdown that spanned three years and sparked a special investigation.

The female teacher, who cannot be named, has been banned from the classroom for at least two years following the appalling pattern of behaviour inside Queensland primary schools.

The teacher twice had to be rushed to hospital in an ambulance from different schools, lost consciousness in front of students more than once, drank hand sanitiser on duty and drove drunk, from school, with her own children in the car, a tribunal heard.

She also drank vodka from a water bottle while in a classroom.

The teacher exposed vulnerable children in her care to considerable risk and exposed schoolchildren to inappropriate and frightening behaviour, the disciplinary tribunal found.

In August, 2016, while teaching Year 2, the teacher went to her car to drink vodka mixed with water and take Valium, during a morning break.

The teacher, who had also taken Valium before coming to school, returned to the class with the alcohol, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard.

The teacher, was shortly after found unconscious at her desk and unable to be roused to a coherent state. She had also been unaware of a child being punched in the classroom.

Colleagues called an ambulance and she was taken to hospital.

A week later, the teacher twice went to her car during breaks at school to drink alcohol and take Valium.

The school principal found her in class, after lunch, apparently asleep, and after she was roused, the principal said she was confused, disorientated, swaying and banging into a door.

The principal called police after the teacher ignored her advice and drove away from school, while drunk, with her own children in the car.

The teacher, who was found to have a blood alcohol reading of 0.144 per cent - almost three times the legal limit - was later fined $800 and disqualified from driving for five months.

But the teacher's alcohol abuse during school hours continued.

In August 2018 the woman drank while teaching at a primary school, before going home in her break to drink more. When she returned to school she collapsed near the library.

Her blood-alcohol reading was 0.34 per cent on hospitalisation, and the toxicology report noted the level was regarded as a "stupor stage" and a slightly higher reading would be classified as a "coma stage".

The tribunal heard the teacher had also once collapsed at a school after drinking hand sanitiser, disguised in a water bottle.

The teacher, who blamed her behaviour on the effects of a marriage breakdown, is in a long-term rehabilitation program.

She has been banned from applying for registration or permission to teach for two years, from October 1.

Before being allowed to teach again she must show proof of treatment for alcohol dependence, with monthly tests, over six months, showing total abstinence from alcohol.

If she returns to teaching she must totally abstain from alcohol for at least 12 months and must continue with her psychiatric treatment, with reports to Queensland College of Teachers.