Police report finds Janesville teacher was drunk on field trip - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Police report finds Janesville teacher was drunk on field trip


JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- At Monday’s school board meeting, members did not discuss the conduct of an elementary school teacher who passed out on the job after reportedly drinking.

Board of Education vice president Kristin Hesselbacher says that the board rarely handles personnel issues, and human resources professionals are handling the investigation.

50-year-old Maria Caya was chaperoning a field trip for fourth and fifth grade Washington Elementary students, according to the Janesville School District. Caya and eight other teachers and the students were at the River’s Edge Bowling Alley in Janesville when Caya passed out, according to a Janesville police report.

When she was taken to a hospital, testing showed her blood alcohol level was 0.27 – three times the legal limit for driving. Caya also told hospital employees she had been drinking alcohol at 6:00 a.m. that day, according to the police report.

"I think that person should be stripped of their license and never be able to teach again," said parent Andrew Klund, whose daughter attends a neighboring elementary school.

Klund says he was shocked the teacher was not brought up at the school board meeting. However, Hesselbacher stresses there were other supervisors present.

"There isn't really any good news, but all of our students were safe during that time. There were eight other teachers and staff present at that time, so students were never in any danger. But if indeed that all happened, it was clearly inappropriate," Hesselbacher said.

Hesselbacher says the personnel issue would be handled at the district level, and may not make its way up to the Board of Education.


JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- An elementary school teacher passes out on the job after reportedly drinking before a field trip with students.

Janesville School District officials say Maria Caya was one of nine teachers on a field trip with Washington Elementary's fourth and fifth grade students when they went to River's Edge Bowling Alley in Janesville to celebrate the end of the school year on June 6. While there, a Janesville police report states Caya vomited in the bathroom and later passed out. 

Caya was taken to a Janesville hospital, where testing showed her blood alcohol level was 0.27, which is more than three times the legal driving limit. A police report indicates Caya admitted to hospital employees she drank at 6 a.m. before school that day.

According to Wisconsin's Drive Sober app, a woman of Caya's size would have had to consume at least 11 alcoholic drinks between when she says she started drinking and when she was tested at 12 p.m., just six hours later, to reach a blood alcohol level of 0.27.

A police report states a hospital worker called police, concerned Caya was supervising a group of children while intoxicated.

Deputy Chief John Olsen with Janesville police says at this time, he doesn't believe Caya will be criminally charged for the incident. Olsen says their preliminary investigation does not lead them to believe the children were at risk or that she's guilty of public intoxication.

"There's nothing to indicate that she caused any type of disturbance or anything like that, that would raise it to a disorderly conduct," says Olsen. "We'll need to talk to the others that were present at the bowling alley."

Superintendent Karen Schulte says the safety of students and staff was not compromised, because there were eight other teachers also on the field trip. Schulte says Caya's husband came to the bowling alley and took responsibility for her, driving her to the hospital. 

Schulte declined to comment on whether Caya had any prior issues in the past 14 years she's worked for the district. Schulte says it's a personnel matter that cannot be discussed until after an internal investigation that could result in disciplinary action.

"We do have board policy that governs our workplace, having a drug & alcohol free work environment. It could be anything such as suspension all the way through termination," says Schulte. "Each situation would be different depending on the situation at hand."

Schulte says the district's HR department will conduct its own investigation as soon as police complete their reports.

Caya was not arrested and declined to comment to police about the incident.

Police reports are being forwarded to the school district and Child Protective Services.


JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- Police say a Janesville elementary school teacher was drunk and passed out on a field trip with students last week.

According to a police report, Maria Caya, 50, got sick during a field trip with Washington Elementary School fourth grade students at River's Edge Bowl Thursday.

Janesville Schools says Caya has been with the district 14 years.
District Superintendent Karen Schulte commented on the incident Monday afternoon. 
There is also a Janesville School Board meeting scheduled for Monday night.

The police report indicates Caya's husband took her to a hospital after the field trip, where her blood-alcohol level registered 0.27 percent, which is more than three times the legal limit.  A hospital social worker is the one who called police, concerned Caya was supervising a group of children while intoxicated.
Police say Caya will face no criminal charges and their report is being forwarded to Child Protective Services and the school district.

The report states Caya admitted to drinking alcohol at 6:00 a.m. the morning of the field trip.

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