Society

Michigan Fifth Graders Drink O’Doul’s Non-Alcoholic Beer During History Class

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Michigan fifth-grade teacher gave her students O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer during a history lesson on Colonial times.

School district superintendent Ed Koledo said parents were not informed of the incident, which is considered a misdemeanor crime in the state of Michigan, because nobody complained after it happened.

Parents in Linden received a letter from Hyatt Elementary School on March 14 explaining what occurred.

Koledo says a teacher allowed students to drink O’Doul’s, which has less than 0.5 percent alcohol, at school on March 6 so they could experience the substance commonly drank during the colonial period when there was a scarcity of clean water.

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The beverage was brought to the school by a student, who said it represented Colonial ale.

"Beer was actually one of the staple drinks," Koledo said of that era.

It is a misdemeanor crime to give O’Doul’s and other near-beers to minors, state Liquor Control Commission spokeswoman Andrea Miller told MLive.

Parents were not informed of the incident.

"Nobody complained to the teacher, principal or me," Koledo said. "We monitored the situation the next day. It was a dead topic so we just left it at that."

A letter was sent to parents after an inquiry from the Flint Journal.

In the letter, Hyatt Principal Vicki Malkaravage said the teacher, who was not identified, thought the malt beverage was okay for kids because it was labeled non-alcoholic.

"We talked to the teacher and said this was an inappropriate choice," Koledo said. "There were a lot better choices to represent a colonial-era drink than what was chosen here."

Koledo would not disclose whether the teacher will face disciplinary action. The student who brought the beverage will not be disciplined.

"I know the teacher and know her as being a very responsible person," said Scott Maker, president of the Linden School Board. "I know there was no intent to expose anyone to harm, just poor thought in this situation."

Linden schools are drug and alcohol free zones.

DiAnne Hukill, president of the Hyatt Elementary Parents Active in Linden Schools (PALS), who has a son in fifth grade, wasn’t informed about the incident.

"[PALS] has not been informed of anything like this," Hukill said. "I'm a surprised a parent would allow O'Doul's to be brought in."

Sources: WXYZ Detroit, MLive