Thursday, January 13, 2005

Administrative Buffoonery: Teacher Forced To Resign After District Learns She Has Cancer

The Washington Post is reporting what must be one of the worst examples of bureaucratic callousness in a long time.

Some time ago, Alison Yowell developed Hodgkin's disease. After treatment, the cancer went into remission early last year. Her doctors indicated that she had beaten the disease.

An experienced educator with a successful track record, Alison was hired to teach seventh-grade English last August. She was delighted to be teaching students at River Bend Middle School, in Sterling, Virginia.

Alison's cancer returned with a vengeance in September 2004.

She continued teaching her students, while occasionally missing a day in the classroom in order to undergo further treatment of her cancer.

By January of this year, she had used her 10 sick days. Alison then requested an unpaid leave of absence while she continued her struggle against the disease.

Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III of Loudoun County public schools denied Alison's request for an unpaid leave of absence. He indicated that if Alison did not resign, then he would fire her. As on cue, Hatrick's rubber-stamp "governing board" stated that it would support the superintendent's decision if Alison requested a hearing. (If it had been so inclined, the board could have over-ruled the superintendent's decision.)

Students, parents, and other classroom teachers expressed their support for Alison, but to no avail.

In order to keep her teaching record unmarred, Alison resigned.

We here at the 'Wonks believe that its administrators like Edgar B. Hatrick III that give the educational bureaucracy the reputation for buffoonery that it currently enjoys. Remember, this employee had requested an unpaid leave at no cost to the district whatsoever.

A little humanity would have gone a long way....

As for Superintendent Edgar B. Hatrick III, he needs to be put in the corner with a Dunce Cap atop his head.

Superintendent Hatrick, you have now been Educated by The Education Wonks.

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