Two substances that do not mix well – public school property and alcohol – are posing a significant threat to an elementary school physical education instructor who has been charged with drinking and possessing alcoholic beverages on public school grounds.
The case began on May 9, 2019 when the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office received a call from personnel at Horizon Elementary School in Sterling. The caller told the sheriff’s office that a physical education teacher was possibly intoxicated while he was on school grounds. Police traveled to the school and searched the teacher’s car, which was parked on school grounds. The officers allegedly found bottles of alcohol in the car. The teacher was arrested and charged with drinking or possessing alcoholic beverages in or on public school grounds and public intoxication.
Police checked the Horizon School website and found that the defendant was supposedly in his ninth year of teaching. He was also listed as the boys’ varsity head soccer coach at Loudon County High School. However, the high school’s website lists a different person as head soccer coach. The defendant is listed as a coach at Riverside High School in Leesburg. The discrepancy has not been explained.
A person convicted of possessing alcohol on public school property will be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor. The penalties include incarceration for up to six months and a fine of not more than $1,000. The defendant in this case is entitled to be presumed innocent unless he is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but he may be facing employment consequences because of his status as a teacher. Anyone facing similar charges may want to get an evaluation of the evidence and an estimate of the likelihood of negotiating a favorable plea agreement.