Is alcohol allowed on public school campuses?

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Typically, alcohol is not allowed on school campuses or where students may be present.  There are a few exceptions to this rule of thumb as outlined in California Business and Professions Code Section 25608.  Be careful when you apply these exceptions, as there are a lot of givebacks to the exceptions and they tend to be tricky to interpret.  As a best practice, you should always consult an attorney when the issue of alcohol arises.

25608. (a) Every person who possesses, consumes, sells, gives, or delivers to any other person, any alcoholic beverage in or on any public schoolhouse or any of the grounds thereof, is guilty of a misdemeanor. This section does not, however, make it unlawful for any person to acquire, possess, or use any alcoholic beverage in or on any public schoolhouse, or on any grounds thereof, if any of the following applies:
(1) The alcoholic beverage possessed, consumed, or sold, pursuant to a license obtained under this division, is wine that is produced by a bonded winery owned or operated as part of an instructional program in viticulture and enology.
(2) The alcoholic beverage is acquired, possessed, or used in connection with a course of instruction given at the school and the person has been authorized to acquire, possess, or use it by the governing body or other administrative head of the school.
(3) The public schoolhouse is surplus school property and the grounds thereof are leased to a lessee which is a general law city with a population of less than 50,000, or the public schoolhouse is surplus school property and the grounds thereof are located in an unincorporated area and are leased to a lessee which is a civic organization, and the property is to be used for community center purposes and no public school education is to be conducted thereon by either the lessor or the lessee and the property is not being used by persons under the age of 21 years for recreational purposes at any time during which alcoholic beverages are being sold or consumed on the premises.
(4) The alcoholic beverages are acquired, possessed, or used during events at a college-owned or college-operated veterans stadium with a capacity of over 12,000 people, located in a county with a population of over six million people. As used in this subdivision, “events” mean football games sponsored by a college, other than a public community college, or other events sponsored by noncollege groups.
(5) The alcoholic beverages are acquired, possessed, or used during an event not sponsored by any college at a performing arts facility built on property owned by a community college district and leased to a nonprofit organization which is a public benefit corporation formed under Part 2 (commencing with Section 5110) of Division 2 of Title 1 of the Corporations Code. As used in this subdivision, “performing arts facility” means an auditorium with more than 300 permanent seats.
(6) The alcoholic beverage is wine for sacramental or other religious purposes and is used only during authorized religious services held on or before January 1, 1995.
(7) The alcoholic beverages are acquired, possessed, or used during an event at a community center owned by a community services district and the event is not held at a time when students are attending a public school-sponsored activity at the center.
(8) The alcoholic beverage is wine which is acquired, possessed, or used during an event sponsored by a community college district or an organization operated for the benefit of the community college district where the college district maintains both an instructional program in viticulture on no less than five acres of land owned by the district and an instructional program in enology, which includes
sales and marketing.
(9) The alcoholic beverage is acquired, possessed, or used at a professional minor league baseball game conducted at the stadium of a community college located in a county with a population of less than 250,000 inhabitants, and the baseball game is conducted pursuant to a contract between the community college district and a professional sports organization.
(10) The alcoholic beverages are acquired, possessed, or used during events at a college-owned or college-operated stadium or other facility. As used in this subdivision, “events” means fundraisers held to benefit a nonprofit corporation that has obtained a license pursuant to this division for the event. “Events” does not include football games or other athletic contests sponsored by any college or public community college. This subdivision shall not apply to any public education facility in which any grade from kindergarten to grade 12, inclusive, is schooled.
(11) The alcoholic beverages are possessed, consumed, or sold, pursuant to a license obtained under this division, for an event during the weekend or at other times when pupils are not on the grounds of an overnight retreat facility owned and operated by a county office of education in a county of the 18th class.
(12) The grounds of the public schoolhouse on which the alcoholic beverage is acquired, possessed, used, or consumed is property that has been developed and is used for residential facilities or housing that is offered for rent, lease, or sale exclusively to faculty or staff of a public school or community college.
(13) The grounds of a public schoolhouse on which the alcoholic beverage is acquired, possessed, used, or consumed is property of a community college that is leased, licensed, or otherwise provided for use as a water conservation demonstration garden and community passive recreation resource by a joint powers agency comprised of public agencies, including the community college, and the event at
which the alcoholic beverage is acquired, possessed, used, or consumed is conducted pursuant to a written policy adopted by the governing body of the joint powers agency and no public funds are used for the purchase or provision of the alcoholic beverage.
(14) The alcoholic beverage is beer or wine acquired, possessed, used, sold, or consumed only in connection with a course of instruction, sponsored dinner, or meal demonstration given as part of a culinary arts program at a campus of a California Community College and the person has been authorized to acquire, possess, use, sell, or consume the beer or wine by the governing body or other administrative head of the school.
(b) Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall, in addition to the penalty imposed for the misdemeanor, be barred from having or receiving any privilege of the use of public school property which is accorded by Article 2 (commencing with Section 82537) of Chapter 8 of Part 49 of the Education Code.

4 thoughts on “Is alcohol allowed on public school campuses?

  1. I quickly read through the page and surmised that I would be charged with a misdemeanor if I gave another employee of the public school a bottle of alcohol for a Christmas gift. Correct?

    1. I’m not so sure that you would be charged with a misdemeanor, but I wouldn’t necessarily advise it. If you do, just keep the gift giving off campus.

  2. Signed for a package at work today for my Supervisor not knowing what was in it. When I brought it to his office, he stated it was wine.
    What?! I thought. I’m never signing for his deliveries ever again!
    Could I be charged?

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