Cosmopolitan, please

High School Teacher Suspended for Taking Students to Gay Bar

Let’s just get this out of the way: She was suspended for letting the 17- and 18-year-olds drink at the bar, and not because the bar she took them too was of the homo variety.

“A Butler Tech teacher submitted a letter of resignation Thursday, April 16, after she admitted to taking four Edgewood High School cheerleaders to a gay bar in Dayton, where the students had been drinking, said Bill Solazzo, Butler Tech marketing director. Lori Epperson, 37, taught marketing at Edgewood High School through a partnership with Butler Technology and Career Development Schools. Epperson apologized in an April 10 e-mail to Edgewood High School Principal Bob Buchheim and Butler Tech administrators and admitted that she accompanied three 18-year-old students and a 17-year-old student to a bar in February. Butler Tech later found out the bar was Club Masque, Solazzo said. According to Epperson’s e-mail, the four students went upstairs in the bar, where someone they knew apparently bought them alcohol shots and cosmopolitan cocktails, Epperson wrote in her e-mail, saying she observed this after following them upstairs, Solazzo said. Before Epperson gathered the girls to immediately leave the bar, one of the young women was found sick in the bathroom, he said.” [Dayton Daily News]

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  • Anthony in Nashville

    What was the teacher thinking, taking students to the club? I didn’t know it was so difficult to maintain the teacher/student boundary.

    Parental consent or not, the bar is not the proper use of a field trip.

  • Sampson

    Cannot understand why the teacher thought taking her pupils to a bar was an appropriate thing to do.

    On a different note, in the UK, the age at which a person can legally buy alcohol is 18, and any child over the age of five years old can have an alcoholic drink as long as they are accompanied by an adult and do not consume it at the bar. Not sure if this is more sensible or whether the US has it right.

  • Jaroslaw

    Like high school students don’t get trashed regularly WITHOUT the teacher. How is this ALL the teacher’s fault? Did she force the 17 & 18 year olds to drink? As poster #2 says, you can buy alcohol in UK at 18, I think it is younger in France..

    There MUST be more to this story…. Is it like a huge club with fashion shows etc. that just happened to have a bar upstairs?

  • Sampson

    @Jaroslaw: I suspect that the teacher is in loco parentis, even when their charges are 18. She has also showed profound lack of professional judgment at the very least.

  • Chris

    Why would you take students to any kind of bar?

    It’s nuts, even if it had some kind of value to the marketing course she taught — take them to the supermarket and teach them about grocery marketing.

  • Jaroslaw

    #4 Sampson – I suppose you’re right about the in loco parentis thing, but still, if she took them to a (presumably non controversial mainline church Wedding – straight only) that happened to have a bar, then what?

    I still say there is more to this story – I would imagine a 37 year old teacher didn’t just get crazy and have a sudden lack of judgement either. Further, why would she apologize? She’s been fired. To avoid more legal obligations?

  • orpheus_lost

    @Jaroslaw: I agree that there’s always two sides to a story, but I have to say that I’m having trouble figuring out how this teacher’s story could possibly absolve her of guilt in this case. Yes, she could have taken them to a wedding that had an open bar, but the main point of a wedding isn’t to drink, it’s to celebrate a marriage. Schools take kids to amusement parks where alcohol is served all the time but the main focus is the rides not the booze – and they’re usually chaperoned because of this exact thing.

    In taking these girls to a bar (of any variety) she not only broke the law but the trust of her community. She has much to apologize for unless she can show that she had some extraordinary reason for taking them there. She has put the school and that bar in legal jeopardy so there really should be one hell of a good excuse.

  • Jaroslaw

    I could be wrong, but I didn’t say TWO sides of the story, I said MORE to the story.

    IE – either this teacher has been loopy all along and this was the last straw and she got fired…

    OR the bar was incidental to where she took them. Or possibly, maybe SOMETHING about this story WE don’t know.

  • Jamey

    There is something this article leaves out – the fact that one of the students Epperson brought to the bar was her daughter and the other girls were the daughter’s friends. Granted, they were students at a school she teaches, but this was not a field trip.

  • Jaroslaw

    THANKS Jamey – I knew there was something. I don’t think I would have resigned. If the girls bought booze illegally, that is THEIR problem.

  • orpheus_lost

    @Jaroslaw: I’m not sure how this absolves her of guilt here. Even if we accept that she should be able to take her under 21yo daughter to the bar (which I don’t as it put the bar owners in legal jeopardy) she still had no right to take other underaged girls to that bar, without or without parental consent. However, if we even go so far as to suspend her guilt for taking them to this bar with parental consent, then there’s still the problem of her being responsible for the well being of these kids while in her care. What distracted her attention for the time it would take to order and drink at least a few shots?

    I’m all for lowering the drinking age to 18, but until that happens people like this are begging for problems and irresponsibly putting others at risk in the process. No matter how many words you capitalize, there’s no denying that this teacher was incredibly negligent and showed extreme bad judgment.

  • TANK

    The drinking age should be abolished. This idiot should get FIRED…out of a cannon.

  • rcdc

    it depends on the state, but under the current alcohol laws in a lot of places, if you allow underage drinking to occur, you are held liable. that’s how it is here in CT. she knew they were underage and should not have been in the bar, therefore she is responsible for their drinking. i’m not saying it’s right, just that that’s how it is. and seriously, taking high schoolers to a bar? that is some bad judgment, and i’m pretty sure i would want someone with such little sense of propriety and social codes teaching my kids anything.

  • Stitch

    Just FYI: Masque is probably the biggest gay club in Dayton. It has a bar, dance floor, and stage for drag shows on the first floor, and a bar and dance floor with a more rave atmosphere on the second floor. They have 18+ nights but apparently these underagers slipped through the cracks…

  • Jaroslaw

    Orpheus- I capitalized 10 words out of two hundred or so, it is not like I’m out of control here and mostly I did it ’cause people apparently weren’t reading what I wrote.

    Now let’s put the best possible spin on this, perhaps minors are allowed in a bar before 6:oo pm or whatever, the teacher takes her daughter. Can the daughter say “sorry friends, you can’t come?” I mean they are 17 & 18 not TWO years old.

    And the laws can be written whatever way the majority wants but that doesn’t make them “morally” right now does it. (does anyone remember the law that passed in California denying us the right to marry? Anti miscegenation laws? and on and one). The fact that she apologized must mean something, but perhaps that was only to avoid further legal repercussions. Courts require people to apologize all the time, it doesn’t mean they mean it. Anyway, because 7 or 10 girls walk in with an adult, can she possibly be “responsible” if they go in 10 different directions?

    This is NOT to say she isn’t responsible for something, but already the story is coming apart. I’d have to know all the details which we obviously don’t have.

  • Mike Barton

    I see. The headline was misleading, which is OK since the truth was revealed in the first paragraph of the article.

  • Casper O

    Oh come on! If the kids can’t control their drinking at that…

  • Sam

    epperson was the marketing teacher at my school. i mean, it’s like she was asking to get in trouble. tisk. :p

  • janis jones

    I have 2 kids at that high school. That school district has always been so uppity, it’s a very small town. If all the kids wouldn’t have talked about it so much, they would have done nothing. There is not more to this story, its simply that this woman wanted to feel like a teenager again and fit in. I hope they dismissed her from being the cheerleading advisor to the eighth graders as well.

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