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Garfield choir teacher fired for drinking alcohol during class trip to New Orleans

A popular Garfield High School choir teacher has been fired after she admitted to drinking alcohol during a March school trip to New Orleans. Seattle Public Schools broke the news about Carol Burton’s termination with a Friday night press release last week.

The superintendent found that numerous district policies, protocols and field trip guidelines were violated. Such violations included the consumption of alcohol by staff, allowing chaperones to consume alcohol, allowing boys and girls inside each other’s hotel rooms, ignoring curfew, and no random room checks conducted after curfew.

The firing comes after SPS hired a private investigator, a former U.S. Attorney, to look into claims that multiple school policies were violated during the trip.

The field trip has been marred in controversy since allegations emerged earlier this summer that one male student groped two female students in a hotel room. A chaperone was also alleged to have “engaged in inappropriate contact” with a student.

SPS declined to give media interviews about the firing which caused a backlash among some students and parents who say Burton was a scapegoat for SPS. Burton told KOMO, “I had 2½ alcoholic beverages on this trip and they are, without a doubt, the most expensive drinks I’ve ever had in my life.”

The New Orleans incident joins follows controversy over another Garfield school trip after the investigation of a sexual assault in 2012.

UPDATE: This article has been updated with a more clear description of the previous controversy related to a Garfield school trip. We have also removed reporting on schools-related budget issues from the post.

 

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10 thoughts on “Garfield choir teacher fired for drinking alcohol during class trip to New Orleans

    • So it is ok to judge the student and tge parents on minimal facts, but wrong to fire the teacher who admitted to violating numerous school policies while supervising kids on an out of town trip? Strange priorities there Steve.

  1. Dont know all the details but an adult having 2.5 drinks shouldn’t be an issue. Dealing with all those kids Id need 100 drinks.

  2. First off, its a policy that no drinking is allowed on school sanctioned trips. And maybe it was only two drinks. 2 drinks may not affect some folks and others it might tremendously. That policy is there for a reason and she flat out broke the rules and allowed other parents/chaperones to as well. I support this decision.
    Next – I don’t understand the point of this article. Is it to badmouth Garfield High School in general? Why are you bringing up instances not related to your headline? What point are you trying to make?
    This article needs some serious help to make it informative to the community. If you are going to write an article about a teacher being fired for just cause, don’t drag up other stuff to try and… well, not sure what you were trying to say.

    • I think it makes sense to talk about the prior issues Garfield has had with field trips and chaperones. It’s called background. It gives context.

      • “The school has been embroiled in a series of controversies related to student trips…”
        What series? I would consider myself a parent in the know, and I’ve only ever heard the one in 2012.
        If there is a series, and this behavior is in fact serial, I would certainly appreciate knowing about them, as I am sure other parents would.
        Could the author back this up?

      • We’ve clarified the post. Our intent was to provide the background of the previous case and could have done a better job. Sorry for the problems.

  3. “The superintendent found that numerous district policies, protocols and field trip guidelines were violated. Such violations included the consumption of alcohol by staff, allowing chaperones to consume alcohol, allowing boys and girls inside each other’s hotel rooms, ignoring curfew, and no random room checks conducted after curfew.”

    Martha, quick, grab the smelling salts. I’m getting the vapors just reading this. We are surely going to hell in a hand basket.

    • Given that being lax on these policies has previously lead to the sexual assault of a minor on a Garfield field trip, they SHOULD be cracking down.