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Kindergarten Teacher Criticized For Getting Drunk In Front Of Students After Hours

During work hours, most of us conduct ourselves with the upmost maturity and professionalism, reserving our antics and less-than-responsible behaviors for our own time.

But should we be expected to keep up that professionalism, even once we've clocked out for the day?

That's the question one kindergarten teacher is asking after she recently had one too many drinks in the presence of some of her students, leading to a heated interaction with a parent and a subsequent meeting in the principal's office.

The unnamed woman shared her story to Reddit in the hopes of determining whether she should have behaved differently or not.

Submitted to the subreddit r/AmITheAsshole, she began by writing that this all occurred on the night of her 27th birthday, which her friends helped her celebrate by taking her to a local restaurant.

At some point during the evening, two moms entered the establishment with their children.

Upon seeing them, the teacher recognized the kids to be students from her kindergarten class. The families were seated directly behind her and her friends.

"They say hi to me, and I say hi back, but then don't interact further," the woman recalled.

Of course, since she was celebrating her birthday, the teacher allowed herself to have a couple glasses of wine with dinner, leading to her getting "a little tipsy."

As she wrote,

"I'm conversing normally with my friends, occasionally using cuss words like 'f***', or 's***', or 'damn'. Not excessively, just the way some people would in every day conversation. Maybe a little more than I would have if I were not tipsy, but again, I'm not speaking loudly or anything. Just having normal conversations with my friends."

One of the moms who had been seated behind her table took notice of her behavior and eventually decided to speak up.

"One of the moms then comes over to me and reminds me that my students were there, and that I shouldn't be drinking and cursing in front of them," the woman wrote. "Since I'm their teacher, it was my job to set a good example to them."

In response, she told the mom that she is, in fact, "off the clock", and if she doesn't appreciate her behavior, they can either move tables or leave the restaurant entirely. So that's exactly that they did.

A few days later, that interaction ultimately lead to a meeting in the principal's office where the outraged mom once again accused the teacher of setting a "bad example."

In fact, she claimed her own child has even begun repeating the words they heard their teacher saying that night at the restaurant.

The educator was then given a chance to defend herself, pointing out that she was not at the restaurant as a teacher but as a patron, and did not have to conduct herself any differently than she would have if the children weren't there.

The principal agreed, and told the mom the teacher had done nothing wrong, resulting in the outraged parent storming out of the office.

However, the principal later told the educator that perhaps she should have adjusted her behavior accordingly that night.

As she wrote,

"[He] suggested maybe that one time I should have just stopped drinking and using foul language. I really didn't think this was a problem, since wasn't acting out. Just talking casually and enjoying a couple glasses of wine. But am I really the asshole for drinking and using foul language in front of my students while off the clock?"

For many Reddit users, their ruling was a very firm, "no way".

"They can't expect you to be the teacher 24/7," one person reasoned, while another added, "It’s honestly my biggest pet peeve that people don’t think teachers have a life outside of school. You are allowed to have a life, this mom needs to back the heck off."

However, there were some people who thought that perhaps the teacher could have handled the situation differently.

As this user wrote,

"The professional thing to do would have been to stop swearing, move tables so you're out of sight/hearing of the students, or gone to a different bar to finish up the night. Kids don't understand what 'off the clock' means, and you're just as much their teacher in the classroom as you are outside of it, in their eyes."

It seems users who have children think the teacher acted poorly here, while childless users, or those who are teachers themselves, think she wasn't doing anything wrong.

But what do you think of this situation?

Should the teacher have quieted down or possibly even moved tables once she realized her kindergarten students were sitting behind her? Or was she right to continue celebrating her birthday since it was after school hours? Let us know!

h/t: Reddit