An elementary school teacher in Australia’s Queensland state who passed out in class while intoxicated has been banned from teaching for two years.
The female teacher, who was unnamed due to concern for her mental health, had a history of substance abuse and mental health disorders, according to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), which announced her two-year ban on Saturday.
There were several instances in 2016 when she mixed Valium medication with vodka and water, and passed out at her desk. Once, she had taken the Valium to “calm herself after having been involved in a domestic altercation with her ex-husband the previous night,” according to the QCAT decision.
There were a series of other incidents; she drove her car while intoxicated with her children inside, consumed hand sanitizer, and was hospitalized after collapsing at school.
At one point, while asleep in a second grade science classroom, she “was unaware of an incident involving a child being punched,” the QCAT decision said.
Her pattern of alcohol abuse had placed students at risk and “exposed children to inappropriate and frightening behavior,” the QCAT decision said.
“This is a sensitive issue,” said Queensland education minister Grace Grace, according to CNN affiliate Seven News. “I believe the QCT (Queensland College of Teachers) has handled this well, and the decision is the right decision.”
According to QCAT, the unnamed teacher had been suffering from “depression and anxiety due to an extremely difficult and traumatic period in her life,” while dealing with “the breakdown of her marriage.” She has begun seeing a psychiatrist, has entered rehabilitation, and “is deeply remorseful for her actions,” the QCAT decision said.
In a personal statement, the teacher said she was “on her way to recovery but realizes this will take some time.”
She must now wait two years before reapplying for permission to teach, and will only be allowed to do so under certain conditions – including psychiatric treatment for alcoholism, abstinence from alcohol, and monthly blood testing.