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Teacher Who Let Students Sip ‘Near Beer’ Made ‘a Mistake,’ Superintendent Says

A southeast Michigan elementary teacher allowed students to sip O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer brought to school by a student as an example of the ales colonists drank when clean water was scarce in the 1700s.

O'Doul's has trace alcohol content of less than .05 percent, but it's against the law to serve it our other "near beers" to minors in the state of Michigan. (Photo: Anheuser-Busch)
O'Doul's has trace alcohol content of less than .05 percent, but it's against the law to serve it our other "near beers" to minors in the state of Michigan. (Photo: Anheuser-Busch)

The superintendent at a southeast Michigan school said a teacher’s decision to let fifth-graders sip a non-alcoholic beer as part of a history lesson on Colonial times was “a mistake.”

"We talked to the teacher and said this was an inappropriate choice," Linden Community Schools Superintendent Ed Koledo told MLive/The Flint Journal. "There were a lot better choices to represent a Colonial-era drink than what was chosen here."

The teacher, who was not named, was teaching a unit on Colonial times. A student reportedly brought a container of O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer to school to represent the common ale many colonists drank in the 1700s when clean water was scarce and the teacher allowed the students to sample it, Koledo said.

O’Doul’s is marketed as a non-alcoholic beer and has less than 0.5 percent alcohol, according to the Anheuser-Busch website. Serving beverages with trace amounts of alcohol is a misdemeanor crime in Michigan, Liquor Control Commission spokeswoman Andrea Miller told the newspaper.

Koledo said neither he nor other school officials received any complaints about the incident, but school officials decided to send a letter home to parents after media inquires from the Flint Journal.

"Nobody complained to the teacher, principal or me," he said. "We monitored the situation the next day. It was a dead topic so we just left it at that."

In her note to parents, Hyatt Principal Vicki Malkaravage said the teacher thought it would be “OK” for students to drink O’Doul’s because it’s non-alcoholic.

Koledo did not say if the teacher will face disciplinary action.

K. Scott March 18, 2014 at 07:30 PM
Coming from a racist twit like Barb Narb, hold your heads high folks.
Beth Dalbey March 18, 2014 at 09:14 PM
Hey folks, let's avoid personal attacks. Thanks.
Bill March 19, 2014 at 07:14 AM
Teachers who think outside the box tend to be the ones who connect with the children and keep their interest. Could she have used better judgement, and read the label - probably. But in her defense, here's a marketing line for O'Doul's: "O'Doul's is a premium non-alcoholic beer. O'Doul's Amber offers the same non-alcohol benefits with a richer look and taste." False advertising...? Also, have you looked at the ingredients of some of the meds we give our kids? Does this lapse of judgement warrant a misdemeanor or any other discipline - no. Hey, I bet the kids remember the lesson!
stephanie pytlowanyj March 19, 2014 at 11:13 AM
This is old news from over 2 weeks ago; does the media just need something "controversial" to report? On a side note, check the alcohol content in cough syrup. Here's a site to see what you and/or your child are ingesting: http://www.mssny.org/mssnycfm/mssnyeditor/File/CPH/AlcoholContent.pdf
Stacy Paalanen March 19, 2014 at 01:44 PM
Parents have control over the meds they give their kids, a teacher would not be making that decision without you, so that is not really a comparison; it is probably why there were no official complaints made to the school though.

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