JASON RANTZ

Seattle teacher fired for drinking on field trip to return to class Monday

May 20, 2016, 9:47 AM | Updated: 2:57 pm
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Garfield High School (Seattle Public Schools)
(Seattle Public Schools)

A Seattle teacher who was fired for drinking on a field trip will return to her job as a choir teacher at Garfield High School, starting Monday.

Carol Burton was fired in August for breaking district field trip rules during a March 2015 trip to New Orleans where two students reported being molested by a classmate.

“I think I have paid and would be willing to absolutely make amends to repair that damage,” Burton told KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz Show in August 2015. “I don’t know that with 14 years of pretty darn good service, it is worth throwing me out over such indiscretions.”

Related: Jason Rantz interviews Carol Burton

A King County judge ordered the school district last month to reinstate Burton. Instead, she was kept on administrative leave. Now, after an outcry by students and alumni, Burton will be teaching for the first time in a year.

During the 2015 field trip, a teenage boy allegedly groped teen girls in one of their hotel rooms. Boys and girls are not supposed to be in hotel rooms of the opposite sex.

Burton admitted she didn’t explicitly tell the kids the rule and, according to a district investigation, she “permitted male and female students to be in each other’s rooms before curfew.”

“I think it’s outrageous that those girls were groped,” Burton told Rantz. “I’ve taken 48 overnight field trips in my past 14 years. I’ve taken approximately, 2,500 kids, overnight, and in every single case boys and girls were allowed to co-mingle in rooms or cabins before curfew.”

“I have never had, with all of those students, a problem with sexual misconduct,” she added, noting the co-mingling in hotel rooms rule is a new one that she neglected to enforce the first few months of its implementation.

In a statement, Seattle Public Schools said Burton will not be allowed to participate in overnight field trips for two years. She must also attend “appropriate” training.

KIRO Radio’s Frank Shiers contributed to this report.

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Seattle teacher fired for drinking on field trip to return to class Monday