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California teacher arrested for DUI, child endangerment to face no charges: "It is not illegal to teach drunk."

Sutter County teacher arrested for DUI, child endangerment won't be charged
Sutter County teacher arrested for DUI, child endangerment won't be charged 02:27

SUTTER COUNTY — A Sutter County second-grade teacher who was arrested for DUI and child endangerment will not face any charges.

Wendy Munson was arrested in October 2023 after a staff member at Nuestro Elementary in Live Oak reported that they believed Munson was teaching class drunk. Investigators said Munson's blood alcohol content level was two times the legal limit.

"It is not illegal to teach drunk," said Sutter County District Attorney Jennifer Dupre. 

Dupre said they spent months investigating this case, but could not file any criminal charges. 

"There was the possibility that she drank after she arrived at the school," said Dupre. 

At the start of the investigation, it was believed the 2nd-grade teacher drove to school drunk, but Dupre's office was unable to prove this.

"I certainly don't support anyone teaching drunk, but I can't charge anyone criminally," she said.

Parents are concerned about what type of precedent this sets that teachers can be intoxicated while in the classroom.

That's why Dupre couldn't file any charges—even though investigators say the teacher was on the job with a blood alcohol content level two times the legal limit.

"If you show up to any job intoxicated, that's a fireable offense," said Matthey Cudney, who lives in Yuba City.

Consistent with most schools, Nuestro Elementary in Live Oak is a drug- and alcohol-free zone. The district's staff handbook states that for violators of this, the board shall require termination when termination is required by law.

Dupre said there is also inconsistency in the law for child endangerment. She explained that it is a matter of proving the teacher "would" endanger versus "may" endanger the children.

"We couldn't prove that her intoxication would endanger them," Dupre said.

Dupre also could not prove public intoxication.

"We would have to prove that she is unable to care for herself and others, and the investigation didn't show that," she said.

Parents think teachers should be held to a higher standard.

"Being a school teacher is a little bit unique because parents are entrusting their children to a teacher in the school," Cudney said.

The law disagrees and leaves it up to districts to decide how to discipline.

"We tried because I don't like the conduct. It's not acceptable, but it's unfortunately not criminal," Dupre said.

CBS13 is still working to get a response from the Nuestro Elementary School District. Its website no longer has Munson listed as a teacher.

According to the Commission on Teaching Credentialing, a teacher could lose their credential for this type of misconduct, but it is a case-by-case basis.

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