Bottoms Up: California Educator Arrested for Teaching While Drunk

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Apparently, life as a California educator must be so tough that it drove at least one teacher to the bottle. In this case, a teacher in the Inland Empire was arrested for a TUI, Teaching Under the Influence.

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The incident occurred last Thursday morning after a member of the school’s staff noticed that one of the educators appeared to be wasted while teaching his students.

A teacher in Chino Hills was arrested by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies Thursday morning following a complaint from school staff that he may have been intoxicated while teaching.

Clifford Harper, 49, of Rancho Cucamonga, was arrested around 11:20 a.m. at Robert Townsend Junior High School on the 15000 Block of Ilex Drive.

Faculty at the school called authorities to report their suspicion that Harper was under the influence of alcohol with students in the classroom.

Deputies investigated the report and arrested Harper at the school. He was taken to the Chino Hills Police Department and booked into jail. He faces possible charges of public intoxication and child endangerment.

On Townsend’s website, Harper is listed as a STEM instructor, which normally stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. However, in the case of this inebriated educator, it might stand for Sipping Tequila and Educating Minors.

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Parents were quite surprised about the revelation. Some described Harper as a “fun-loving and passionate teacher.” Well, perhaps now they know why he is so fun.

Harper is not the first California teacher to be busted for teaching while sloshed. In April 2022, an educator named Teagen Leonhart was arrested for a similar reason:

California teacher Teagen Leonhart was arrested on Wednesday morning after police said she was drunk and high while teaching.

San Rafael Police Department was called at Terra Linda High School in Marin County, California, after a school employee alerted a school administrator about a teacher they believed to be “under the influence of alcohol and drugs,” according to a San Rafael Police Department (SRPD) press release.

The incident was reported after the school’s administrator visited the classroom after being informed that Leonhart was showing signs of being three sheets to the wind while teaching her lessons. While the educator initially denied being intoxicated, a “preliminary alcohol screening showed that she was more than three times over the legal limit to be fit for driving.”

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According to police, Leonhart had been teaching all day and had been responsible for the safety of 53 children.

“It was the opinion of the DRE [Drug Recognition Expert] officer that due to her intoxication level, Leonhart was unable to care for the safety of the children while they were in her classroom,” SRPD Lieutenant Dan Fink wrote in the SRPD report.

According to state law, an individual can be prosecuted if they inflict “unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering, or having the care or custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered.”

Harper remains on administrative leave as law enforcement continues investigating the matter.

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