Teacher Gets Fired for Letting Students Drink -- Even Though Parents Okayed It

Say What!? 23

wine glassesAll right parents, tough question time. Who do you think should get to decide whether your kids are allowed to drink alcohol? Is it you or their school?

Think long and hard on that one. Because a Manhattan high school seems to think they have the final say. And a judge agrees with them!

The Calhoun School fired a French teacher who served wine to several teenagers on a trip to France -- even though she'd gotten written permission from each of the girls' parents. But when Daniele Benatouil took her case to court, a judge ruled that the school was within its rights to can her behind because the school prohibits booze on school trips. 

Now listen, we all know schools make these policies so they can punish kids who get bombed on their senior trip. But we're not talking about something like that. What we're talking about is a trip to France, where at 18 the girls could all legally drink, and where they were having a few sips of wine.

As a mother, I'm willing to give a school a certain amount of control over my kid inside the building. But I'd liken this to the way the federal government's rules supplant those of the states. I'm the federal government. The school is the state. What I say goes.

If I think it's OK for my kid to drink, she can drink. And there's no way I'm handing a decision that big over to a school district -- whether we're talking a school trip or schools trying to discipline kids over something they've seen on Facebook! I'm still the parent!

What do you think? Should schools have the right to tell kids they can't drink or is that up to the parents?


Image via rhett maxwell/Flickr

drugs & alcohol, school


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nonmember avatar sarirse

The school is wrong. I agree that they should have partaked, with guidence and permission from their parents, within reason. I allowed 1 coctail with dinner once in a while with dinner at our home. Which is legal. Only 1 of my 3 boys did on occassion have wine, spareingly. He survived. I do not believe kids should grow up and hit the college scene without. Learning responsible drinking habits.

fave82 fave82

The teacher went against school policy. She should have gotten it okay'd by them first, then gotten parental permission.

mande... manderspanders

Um.... how about the LAW decides when your kids can drink... not parents, not teachers, not schools.

For as libertarian leaning as I am; I believe in the drinking age and parents shouldn't encourage their kids to break the law (I don't care if they were on a trip to France, or if wine is part of the cultural experience).

lasombrs lasombrs

My gut reaction to the title was its illegal the school is right. But if they were out of the country and it was legal, and the parents really did put in writing that they felt it was okay then its really grey. I think school policies should still apply on trips because if one doesn't then how do any of them stand up? I don't know if she should have been fired for it but maybe the school needs more spelled out international trip rules and the teacher should have explained her plan to the school if she also shared it with parents.

Elise48 Elise48

My kid, my rules. *I* am raising my kid. If the school feels like it should have the right to trump my parenting then they should accept the responsibility for raising my child instead of whining about how parents these days expect too much from their children's schools. Nothing illegal was done and no one was harmed. This is ridiculous.

laris... larissalarie

Manderpanders, they weren't breaking the law being as they were in France.


It was school associated,so school rules. The parents may have oked it, but if anything had happened to the students while under the influence, you can bet those same parents would be all over that school like white on rice. The school was right to can her ass. She worked for the school not the parents.

lulou lulou

The teacher broke the school rules, so she got fired.  Parents cant go and change these rules whenever they want.   Id even take if further and punish the kids.

mande... manderspanders

I don't care if they were in France, they aren't citizens of France.  They are Americans, and the school is in America, and the school as rules... here, the legal age is 21.  The parents and the teachers were wrong.

(the only exception that I can see is to the young men on the front lines... they may not live to see 21).

Prett... PrettyGirlMyers

manderspanders- you are completely wrong. When you're in another country you have to abide by the laws THERE, not the laws here. The parents and teachers were not wrong in any way AND in the US it is perfectly legal in certain states for parents to provide their own children with alcohol.  

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