A substitute teacher in Aitkin County was charged Feb. 23 with providing alcohol to a student.

According to the press release from the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office, Guy Willard Blessing, 77, Aitkin, was arrested on the gross misdemeanor charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail, a $3,000 fine or both.

Blessing appeared in court Feb. 24 and was released on the conditions of no contact with the student and no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.

His next court appearance is April 19. In addition, he has been removed as a substitute teacher from Aitkin schools.

The sheriff’s office investigated a report Feb. 22 that a substitute had given alcohol to a juvenile at Aitkin High School.

The investigation revealed that the substitute teacher had befriended a student and had, on multiple occasions, provided that student with alcohol.

According to Aitkin Superintendent Dan Stifter, Blessing was a short-call substitute – meaning he would substitute on a day-to-day basis – since February 2014.

He was only a substitute at the high school, but is no longer employed by the district in any fashion, Stifter said.

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