LINDEN, MI (WXYZ) - While the superintendent of Linden Community Schools is calling it an "honest mistake", many others are wondering what the veteran teacher could have been thinking when she allowed students in her fifth grade class to try O'Doul's beer.
While O'Doul's is advertised an a non-alcoholic beer, the beverage actually contains less than half of a percent (.5%) alcohol.
"That was definitely a bad mistake," said Linden resident Susie Lamb.
"I think it's inexcusable," said Carol Vassler who once worked for Linden Community Schools. Vassler says the teacher "didn't do her homework."
Ed Koledo, Superintendent of Linden Community Schools, said they were made aware of the incident when they got a call from a concerned parent who told them that their child reported drinking beer in school.
"It's clearly a mistake and not one we want to make again," said Koledo who declined to say how the teacher has been disciplined.
The teacher, who has not been identified, wrote the following to administrators:
Students were assigned a project on colonial times that fit the era between 1630 - 1770. Students were asked to research their idea and present it to the class. One of the things that we talk about in our discussions is that beer was common for drinking because of the bad water found in colonial times. Even children drank beer for safety reasons. One of the students asked if they could bring in a non-alcoholic beer. I said they could as long as there was no alcohol involved. The project was authentic to the time period and very controlled in the classroom, so the students had a small taste of the O'Douls beverage. Students did not have to drink it if they chose not to.
Three students were each allowed to take a bottle of O'Doul's home with them.
The incident happened March 6 and a letter went home to parents of fifth graders at Hyatt Elementary on Friday, March 14.
As of right now, Linden Police tell Action News that they do not intend to launch a criminal investigation because the alcohol content was very low and no one has filed a complaint.
In Michigan, you have to be 21-years-old to legally consume a beverage containing .05% alcohol - much less than the alcohol content in O'Doul's.
A spokesman for Michigan State Police tells Action News that it is illegal to sell non-alcoholic beer to a minor.