California DA Says It’s ‘Not Illegal’ to Teach Second-Graders While Drunk

Empty school classroom

( – A Northern California elementary school teacher accused of driving to school drunk and teaching while intoxicated will not face criminal charges after the district attorney says there is no law against teaching drunk.

Wendy Munson, who teaches second grade at Nuestro Elementary School, was handcuffed in October of 2023 under suspicion of drunk driving and child endangerment. Onlookers called the Sutter County Sheriff after, they say, they saw her obviously under the influence of alcohol while she was teaching class. District Superintendent Baljinder Dhillon sent a letter to parents at the time saying Munson had been arrested and escorted off campus.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the school and conducted a sobriety test on Munson, which she failed. They arrested her on the spot when her blood alcohol was shown to be twice the legal limit for driving. While there does not seem to be any doubt that Munson had been drinking, there is doubt about when she did, which has led to charges against her being dropped.

Posting on Facebook, the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office said Munson would face no charges despite her arrest. The announcement stated that “it could not be established” that the teacher was drunk when she drove to school, or whether she started drinking once she arrived.

That explains the lack of DUI charges, but what about child endangerment? DA Jennifer Dupre’s office said the investigation could not establish that Munson endangered any of the second-graders in her class, even if she was drunk. “The mere potential that a situation could arise” was not enough to show under the law that Munson had endangered her charges. The DA’s announcement said it was “highly inappropriate” and “unfortunate” that Munson taught class while under the influence of alcohol, but that it was not illegal under state law.

Earlier reports indicated Munson’s class will be taught by a substitute teacher.

Despite the fact that the state is not pressing charges against Munson, the school district retains the right to make decisions about whether the teacher is fired.

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