Police did not arrest a Sharyland ISD teacher discovered asleep and allegedly intoxicated in a classroom at John H. Shary Elementary last month, though the district formally addressed the incident in a letter to parents for the first time Wednesday — almost a full month after it happened.
According to the district, an internal investigation regarding the incident ended this week and a substitute has been assigned to the teacher’s classroom.
The district did not address whether the teacher remained employed by Sharyland ISD or when the district replaced them with a substitute.
“The district conducted a thorough investigation. There is no evidence to suggest that this incident involved any students, as it occurred after school hours,” John H. Shary Principal Marifina Gonzalez wrote in a letter to parents sent to the Progress Times.
According to correspondence from the city of Mission, the allegedly intoxicated teacher had to be taken to a medical facility.
On September 27, the Progress Times asked Sharyland ISD for comment on rumors of a teacher found passed out under the influence at John H. Shary that day.
The district didn’t shed much light on the situation at the time.
It only said that after school that day Superintendent Maria M. Vidaurri had been informed of an unspecified incident involving a staff member at the elementary school that prompted contacting the Mission Police Department and launching an internal investigation.
The Progress Times filed a public information request earlier this month with the city of Mission for police records regarding the campus that day.
On Monday the city responded to that request, seeking to withhold documents it says relate to an alleged public intoxication on school grounds.
“In this instance, a teacher was found asleep in a classroom,” the city’s letter says. “The teacher was then transported to a medical facility due to intoxication. The matter was closed but, as of the date of this letter, no charges have been filed or arrests made.”
The city argues that the information should be withheld because it relates to the detection, investigation or prosecution of crime that didn’t result in a conviction or deferred adjudication.
It’s not clear why the teacher wasn’t arrested or charged.
Mission Police Chief Cesar Torres noted Tuesday that different factors could affect whether police pursued charges in an incident like the one in September, though he said he wasn’t familiar with the specific incident.
“I don’t know all the facts, so I would hate to comment on something where I don’t know all the facts,” he said.
Late Wednesday — 16 hours after the Progress Times informed the district that it intended to publish a story on the incident and resorted to attempting to contact board trustees — Sharyland ISD released Gonzalez’s letter.
“Please rest assured that the district takes the safety and well-being of our students and staff very seriously,” she wrote. “Our top priority is to maintain a safe and conducive learning environment to ensure productive instruction takes place.”
The district did not identify the teacher, their position or whether they recovered from the incident.
It’s not clear what substance the teacher was allegedly intoxicated with.
The teacher at John H. Shary isn’t the only educator to be suspected of being intoxicated on campus in American schools this year.
Other teachers alleged to have been intoxicated at school across the country have faced criminal charges.
Those incidents have also made national headlines.