Is it okay for a schoolteacher to show up for work visibly drunk? Erik Schock of Bellvue, Wash., thinks so. He was fired for coming to work hammered back in February. Now he is suing to get his job back because he says he didn’t break any laws.
Schock was a gym teacher at Chinook Middle School (seen in picture), an 11-year employee there. On February 11, he showed up for work at 7:30 am. Almost five hours later, a school administrator noticed that his breath reeked of alcohol, he was slurring his words and his eyes appeared bloodshot.
In a meeting with the school’s lawyer, Shock admitted that he’d consumed three glasses of beer the night before which were still affecting him. He then revised his count upward to nine glasses of beer.
The school made him take a blood alcohol test at 2 pm. His level was found to be .05 at that time. A toxicologist said that when Schock arrived at school, his level would have registered 0.15, or twice the limit for legal driving.
Schock was fired, a decision later upheld in a hearing presided over by retired judge Terry Lukens.
“It is highly likely that students observed his high level of intoxication, slurred speech and watery eyes,” Lukens wrote in his opinion.
But Schock is now suing in King County Superior Court saying that the school had no cause to fire him.
According to the filings, as reported in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Schock claims that though he admits being sloshed in school and then failing to tell the truth about the extent of his alcohol consumption, he there is no evidence that anything in his conduct that day warranted his dismissal.
But Lukens, in his earlier report, clearly disagrees.
“The students in the district should not have to run the risk that he will have one or more repetitions of the same behavior,” Lukens wrote.
SOURCES: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Q13 Fox, Bellevue Patch