No charges for second-grade teacher arrested after allegedly teaching drunk

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

A 57-year-old second-grade teacher arrested after allegedly teaching class drunk will not be charged, prosecutors announced Monday.

Wendy Munson, 57, was arrested Oct. 2 after Sutter County sheriff’s deputies received reports of a staff member who appeared to be intoxicated at Nuestro Elementary School in Live Oak.

Despite the arrest, prosecutors said there wasn’t enough evidence to show a crime had been committed.

Wendy Munson was arrested Oct. 2 by Sutter County sheriff’s deputies who said she was drunk while teaching a second-grade class.

(Sutter County Sheriff’s Office)

“While the district attorney’s office agrees that it is highly inappropriate to teach while intoxicated, it is, unfortunately, not illegal,” the statement said.

Deputies arrived to find Munson in the middle of class, allegedly showing signs she was intoxicated.

In a press release issued at the time of the arrest, deputies said video showed Munson drove to school, and failed a sobriety test afterward.

She was taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence, and child endangerment.

Sutter County Dist. Atty. Jennifer Dupré said that several hours after deputies had been called, Munson‘s blood alcohol level was measured in separate tests at 0.20% and 0.19%. A level of 0.08% is considered intoxicated for motorists in California.

Munson did not respond to a request for comment.

On Monday, the district attorney’s office announced no charges would be filed against Munson after an eight-month investigation failed to produce enough evidence to meet the legal requirements of the charges.

Dupré said the investigation included interviews with current and past students of the second-grade teacher.

She said investigators could not prove Munson was drunk when she drove to work, or if she began to drink at the elementary school.

Although video of Munson driving to school was found, it did not prove she was intoxicated at that time, Dupré said.

“She doesn’t get out of the car and tumble or anything, so that didn’t help us,” Dupré said.

Prosecutors were also unable to meet the legal requirements for the child endangerment charge, officials said, “as there was no specific information indicating that the children in Munson’s class were placed in a position where their persons or health were endangered.”

Prosecutors would have had to prove that the children in Munson’s care were in actual danger during her time at the class, she said, a situation that did not occur.

“The person has to have placed them in a position where they are in danger, not might be in danger,” Dupré said.

At the end of the investigation, the incident appeared to be a personnel matter with the school and district, she said.

“The behavior is reprehensible,” Dupré said. “But it doesn’t violate the penal code to teach kids when they’re drunk.”

Munson’s employment status with the Nuestro Elementary School District was unclear.

The district website did not list her as a teacher.

Nuestro schools Supt. Bal Dhillon did not immediately respond to a request for comment or questions about Munson’s employment status.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.