Janesville Police Department to investigate drunken teacher incident

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Frank Schultz
Tuesday, June 11, 2013

— Janesville’s schools superintendent answered questions Monday about an incident involving a teacher suspected of being drunk on a grade-school field trip.

Superintendent Karen Schulte had few new details on the incident, which The Gazette first reported Saturday.

Schulte said the district will investigate the incident, but only after police have completed their investigation.

After that, it’s a personnel matter, so the district won’t disclose the results of its investigation, Schulte said.

Schulte read a statement to reporters, saying she learned Thursday that an employee “became ill” while on a field trip.

As reported earlier, a police officer later learned from emergency-room personnel that Washington Elementary School teacher Maria Caya had passed out during a field trip to a bowling alley and that Caya registered a 0.27 blood-alcohol content.

“Student health or safety was not compromised due to eight other district employees present on the field trip,” Schulte stressed.

Deputy Chief John Olsen, who also spoke at the news conference at the school district’s main office, said the only possible crime that might have been committed is child neglect. However, with eight other district employees supervising the students on the field trip, that does not seem likely.

“At this point, there is no indication children were ever in danger,” Olsen said.

A detective will investigate the case this week, Olsen said.

Schulte said she did not know how many fourth- and fifth-graders were on the outing at River’s Edge Bowl.

Caya has worked for the district 14 years, district spokesman Brett Berg said.

Responding to a question about a hypothetical situation, Schulte said an employee found to be intoxicated on the job would face a range of disciplinary actions, from suspension to firing.

The district also might be obliged to see that an employee with a substance-abuse problem receive treatment, Schulte said.

The hospital usually calls police in intoxication cases, and that’s why the officer was at the hospital, Olsen said.

Police determine whether an intoxicated person is incapacitated, and in which case, police could order that the person be treated until he or she sobers up. But in this case, Caya’s husband was caring for her, so an emergency treatment order was not needed, Olsen indicated.

Last updated: 7:54 am Monday, July 29, 2013

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