I have a passion for art education. I love seeing the kids' faces light up when they create from their imagination and then relate it to the world around them. Unfortunately, I was wrongfully terminated from my employment as an art teacher after 11 years of tenure in 2009. I have been fighting to get my life back for the past 3 years.
If it hadn't been for the support of God, my family and friends with their belief in me and my passion for teaching, I would have given up long ago. Every penny I had has gone to fight for this wrongful termination to be removed from my record so I can get a teaching job again and return to the quality of life I had as a teacher.
Instead of the school administration admitting they had made a mistake, they have denied Due Process, misrepresented School Board Policies, falsified documents, obstructed justice, tampered with evidence and made false claims against my character at each and every opportunity from March 27, 2009 to the present day. This entire situation has snowballed out of control. I have proof supporting every one of my claims against the same school administrators.
I NEED HELP! I have tried to fight for truth to prevail for 3
years without the help of a lawyer and have ended up on the brink of
bankruptcy. I still need help to have
my voice be heard, understood, and my cause vindicated. The school administrators are still "in power"
and are continuing to harass other teachers, staff and custodians. Please help me to bring justice and fair play
to the administrators that are, at their best, misguided and unintentionally
corrupt, mean-spirited, lacking scruples and proper educational principles. This situation should not continue.
Please support me by clicking "LIKE" on this page, through prayers, and/or monetary donations which will ONLY be used for the lawyer. Any money not used will be donated to The Wounded Warrior Project and Relay for Life. If you would like more details, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and see the additional details below. To see more about my teaching methods, lesson plans and parent/student comments, please visit http://facebook.com/justiceforteacher. Thank you for your support!
*Up date: On Jan 11, 2013, Attorney Barry Taylor came to my rescue, by presenting the Judge with a Non~Suit. The result, the School Division could not Dismiss my case! The amount above is lowered for now to 1000, because the focus is no longer on raising funds, but instead on Prayer for over coming this long, painful wrongful termination. In addition to prayer the focus is needed to raise awareness of how the School Board has given absolute power without any oversight or accountability to the administrators in Human Resources concerning actions taken against employees . If the School Board is committed to the code of ethics they swore to when accepting their duties as School Board Members they would investigate my situation and I believe would without a doubt take back their power to deal with employee issues again. Investigate fully, not just look at the documents given to them by Human Resource's administrators, but include the documents I was given by the School Division in December 2011 on a CD. Every School Board member has my email, send a request and I will send a copy of the CD the School Division sent. The review will prove every one of my allegations are true.
I am a wrongfully terminated tenure teacher fighting for the
Truth. As a result of using all my
retirement to try to fight this injustice and support myself, I have no funds
to pay an Attorney. Thanking you in advance for any and all support to end this
Since putting the GoFundMe.com page up, OCT 2012 I have been asked a number of similar questions concerning my case. So to clarify what happened I decided to include those questions and answers here in addition to my Original narrative below.
Thank you for asking!
1: What started this chain of events?
Question 2. Isn't there a lawyer who will take your case and get paid after you win?
Question 3: Why can't you just show all the
documents on line so everyone can see
Question 4: This seems like a long time ago, why is this
still going on?
Question 1: What started this chain of events?
Answer: Ironically, what started all this was when I called Human Resources to make sure I was following School Board policy. When I first experienced the difficulty that necessitated the wheel chair, I went to the school nurse and advised her of my need. She acknowledged my request and made no comment that I needed to report it to the administrator. After a week of using a wheel chair in this fully ADA compliant facility, my administrator called me into her office to inform me I was in violation of a School Board policy by not telling her I was using a wheel chair on school premises. The administrator asked for documentation from my doctor; I complied. Then another request was made by the administrator for more information, and then more was requested . . . until I called Human Resources to make sure I was following all the requirements of School Board Policy the administrator claimed I had violated. From that point on I was subjected to a variety of harassing and retaliatory actions by my administrator and then the administrator (compliance specialist) with whom I spoke in Human Resources. (Note: There was not then and has never been a requirement to report the use of a wheel chair in this facility.) I reported the administrators' actions (and subsequent actions) in 2006, 2007, 2008 and in 2009.
The ultimate result of reporting what occurred and requesting the actions to stop came in 2009. The administrator from Human Resources I reported was not only allowed to investigate herself in relation to these complaints, she in the end was placed in charge of the investigation to determine if I should be disciplined for requesting a witness before entering a room by myself to attend an impromptu meeting with an unannounced agenda with four administrators. I received no response to my request for a witness; instead, I was instructed to enter the room, and when I respectfully declined to do so without a witness, was with no prior warning removed from school premises. As a result of this action I made an official complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Lacking even a single piece of documentation to support the events and without providing me an obligatory due process hearing, it was determined the appropriate level of discipline for this offense was to terminate my employment. Despite numerous requests for information beginning when I was placed off-duty, including requests made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), I was ignored again. My termination proceeded with lightning speed despite the previously filed and pending complaint with the EEOC. This complaint, mailed to the school division by the EEOC on at least three occasions was also ignored. (The School Division's own documents which I finally received in December 2011 fully support my charges.)
Now, in 2012
it is finally clear to me how all this happened. I contacted Human Resources to question the actions
of an administrator and request information about school policies and/or
regulations and apparently became identified as an employee who questions
authority. It was the individual in Human
Resources I contacted that day about school board policies/regulations who in
conjunction with other administrators has been relentless in pursuing my
termination. I do not believe what
happened to me is an isolated incident.
The administrators involved are too comfortable in the actions taken
outside of policy and regulations as well as ignoring regulatory acts despite
EEOC and FOIA notifications, for this to be the first time they have abused
I made one BIG mistake : I believed the School Board using School Board Policies would stop the administrators from continuing their acts against me. Unfortunately the School Board did not elect to review the records, electing to leave it in the hands of the administrators.
Now I am counting on people just like you and my students, parents, my peers, other employees and my friends who know me and know what I stand for to help me to stop this injustice. In the total picture I believe the end result will prayerfully help me to regain my life back, but also help to keep any employee in the school division from ever having to be subjected to the abuse of power I have had to endure.
Question 2. Isn't there a lawyer who will take your case and get paid after you win?
Answer: I wish it were that simple. Unfortunately,
attorneys are not exempt from the misconception that a public school system
would be involved in such actions. You
see there is a premise of public trust
in a public school division. Even attorneys thought it was inconceivable what
happened to me could be anything other than my fault. Without the documents I was denied by the
school division until December 2011, I could not prove I was being honest. Nearly 3 years later and finally in receipt
of more than a 1,000 pages of documentation, attorneys are unwilling to invest
the time to research all this documentation without money upfront to cover at
least part of the time needed to establish the foundation of the case. You see the state of the economy has impacted
businesses as well. And, banks do not
loan you money on a pending court case unless the money you earn now pays the 2nd
mortgage. Without the means to be rehired at a comparable salary to the one I
lost as a teacher, I cannot even use the equity in my home. I am praying I can raise the money for this
research time or an attorney will see the site and is willing to work with the
funds raised up to that point knowing any additional donations will also be
used for the attorney. Either way, I
need your help to get the word out and raise an amount acceptable by an
attorney to take my case.
Question 3: Why can't you just show all the documents on line so everyone can see you actually have them?
Answer: From reading and trying to handle this case myself, I believe if I show all the documents on line the attorney on retainer to represent the School Division will claim the documents cannot be used in the court case. I have already discovered the School Division's attorney will do just about anything to keep the School Division from the necessity to account for their deceptive acts and practices. I am fearful there might be some legal reason such as I prevented the School Division from being able to defend their position by making the documents public as a result of me showing the documents, preventing the School Division from receiving a fair trial because I caused public opinion to go against them.
I am not an attorney and in all honesty do not want to unwittingly diminish the value of the records I now have that prove I was wrongfully terminated. I am posting the frame by frame stills taken by security cameras in my residential building of School Board employees bypassing security processes to personally in a face to face unannounced and unscheduled encounter hand deliver the School Division's Dismissal papers to me at my home. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I am praying the pictures help to demonstrate to reasonable individuals to what lengths the school administrators went to harass and retaliate. My termination had absolutely nothing to do with any reasonable and necessary process to correct a demonstrated performance, conduct and/or attendance problem. I have documents to prove it now and need help to get my evidence in front of a neutral decision maker so I can have my life and dignity back.
Question 4: This seems like a long time ago, why is this still going on?
Answer: It has been a long time, but unfortunately, the processes in place to appeal this type of action do not move at lightening speed. I had to follow judicial procedures, and I have been representing myself despite the difficulty presented by a traumatic brain injury (TBI) I acquired from a motor vehicle accident more than 20 years ago. It has not been easy but I simply could not give up.
If it wasn't for
my family and friends helping me with encouragement, computer time and
financially when possible, I would have already given up and probably lost my
home instead of just the financial security and satisfaction my former
teacher's position once afforded.
Without legal counsel, however, at this point I am really struggling to
find a way to further move forward. That
is why I have put together the information on this website to reach out to
anyone who is willing and able to assist me in my fight. For those of you whose company I enjoyed as
we taught together but know the way things are in the School Division, your
assistance can be provided anonymously"”even to me. Believe me, I understand the fear of
retaliation for those who still must work to earn a living. I will be grateful whatever the amount. If nothing else, I would really appreciate it
if you could indicate you "LIKE" this page and the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/JusticeForTeacher to get the word out!
For others who know me but especially my former students, I taught you never to allow someone else to define who you are. Remember how I was told by doctors I would never walk again and then that I would never walk without a limp? Well, I struggled and I walked and now I walk without a limp. I was told I would never use my left hand again; therefore, I needed to learn how to use my right hand. I worked hard and regained full use of my left hand even though I still have some pretty awesome tremors sometimes! In retrospect, if having to relearn how to do everything after I broke my neck did not make me give up, then why would I give up on the truth?
No, I am not going to give up on the truth concerning this unbelievable attack by individuals who did everything conceivable to destroy me personally and professionally and the life I worked so hard to regain after my car accident. If the end result is I fail in the current court case; then the one thing they can not take away is the First Amendment Right guaranteeing the right of free expression. If I can do nothing else, I will speak out and make public all of the documents including the transcripts of the hearings so hopefully someone in a position of power hears and makes the changes necessary to prevent anyone else from ever having to experience what I have had to endure from of all places, a Public School Division:the very place we send our children to learn how to be good citizens. No matter what the end of this is, the unconscionable acts of the administrators will not define who I am.
Original narrative below:
I believe as Martin Luther King Jr. stated, "the time is always right to do the right thing" Martin Luther King Jr.
Please like my page on FaceBook even if you don't donate so we can spread the word. Thank you! http://www.Facebook.com/JusticeForTeacher
1. Why gofundme? Did
you know that the person who shot and killed an unarmed teenager raised 200,000 dollars for his defense using the
internet? Here I am on the brink of
bankruptcy, working at a job that pays $14k per year and the only thing
standing in my way of getting my life back is an attorney. A minimum of $30,000
and up to $100,000 is the average needed to afford an Attorney to represent me
in the Breach of Contract and Intentional Fraud case I have against a Public
School Division. If you are an Attorney
interested in taking my case please contact me immediately. All donations can
be made anonymously.
2. So what happens if additional funds are raised? Any funds not used to pay for an Attorney will be divided equally between two nonprofit groups. Relay for Life and Wounded Warrior Project. Why these two? Both my parents died from cancer way too young. As a Vietnam Era Veteran who Honorable Served in both the Air Force and the Virginia Army National Guard I believe those who serve and gave more than their time should receive all the help necessary to regain their place in society as citizens who have contributed and will still contribute to keep our country the greatest place to live in the world.
3. What Happened? I know now the real reason for dismissal was because I was a "whistleblower" against the Administrators in the Public School Division. The School Board allowed the Administrators involved to violate my Constitutional Rights: The Right to Due Process, the Right to feel secure and not have my job illegally taken away after serving for 11 years as a tenure teacher who never had any disciplinary action.
4. How Did this Happen? On December 2, 2008, The School Board gave the Senior Administrators the power to handle all employee issues without question. "Whenever a complaint is made directly to the School Board as a whole or to an individual School Board Member, the complaint shall be referred to the Superintendent or his designee for investigation, possible resolution at the appropriate level, and recommendations to the School Board if needed."
The Senior Administrators knew this decision meant the School Board would not question their statements or their actions. The Senior Administrators could and would protect any Administrators involved at all cost. With their statements taken as factual, and without any documentation to support their allegations against me the stage was set to easily remove me from my 11 year tenured teaching position. Without any evidence, or any attempt to follow any School Board Policy, State or Federal Laws the Administrators successfully terminated my employment. The Administrators acted behind closed doors and outside of any accountability in an attempt to conceal and intentionally defraud by misrepresenting events, preventing any release of discovery documents, falsification of documents and repeatedly making inconsistent and false statements under oath both verbally and written to Virginia Employment Commission, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and to the School Board. THERE ARE THREE (3) DIFFERENT "STORIES" DEPENDING ON WHO THE SENIOR ADMINISTRATORS WERE PRESENTING THE CASE TO.
As I attempted to mount a defense, I was unaware of their tactics and to what great lengths they would go to remove me from my position. I attempted numerous times to receive the documents used to terminate me prior to and after termination. Even going so far as to hire a private investigator to obtain the records. I requested the documents using FOIA, the Privacy Act, and the actual School Board Policies which gave me the right to obtain the documents. Each time I was ignored, denied or told the Department of Human Resources was not the custodian of my personnel files.
5. When did I receive all the documents to prove my case?
Two weeks AFTER the
case was dismissed in Federal Court! Finally, in December 2011 and January 2012
after the School Division's Attorneys believed I had exhausted all Appeals to
the Virginia Employment Commission and the EEOC case in the Federal Court
System, I was finally given the documents which prove the previous cases I
filed. I am now attempting to afford an Attorney to take my Breach of Contract
and Intentional Fraud Case already in the court system.
I can now prove without a doubt with the documents from my files that were scanned onto a CD by the School Division, that each and every one of my allegations were and are TRUE.
6. In conclusion, I need your help to finally put an end to this travesty of justice based upon fraud, deceit, lying, cheating and unethical conduct by the School Division and School Division's Counsel. This case is the result of the Unquestionable Public Trust given to the School Division's Senior Administrators. I am fighting a School Division that has the limitless ability to hire one of the most expensive legal firms in Virginia to deny all truth from being presented.
Please consider the following when making your decision to help me to afford an attorney:
~ I am an Honorable Discharged United States Air Force Veteran.
~ I am an Honorable Discharged Virginia Army National Guard Veteran.
~ I am an eleven year tenure Teacher who loves teaching, and never received any disciplinary action until the wrongful termination on August 4, 2009.
~ I am a teacher, who was recommended for Teacher of the Year twice by my peers.
~ I am a teacher who taught full-time in Elementary School and part-time at night in an At-Risk High School.
~ From August 2009 to the present day, I have been unable to secure a full-time teaching position due to my wrongful termination.
~ I am a person with a central spinal cord injury and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) due to a vehicle accident in 1991.
~ I am a fighter who believes in the core values the School Division claims to adhere to. "To support this philosophy, the School Division has established a set of values for all employees referred to as The Public School's Core Values. These Core Values are: Youth, Commitment, Compassion, Integrity, Positivity, Respect, Work Ethic, and Wisdom." The Public School Division's Core Values obviously does not apply to all employees. My case proves there is a "hidden" set of rules to protect Administrators using any illegal means possible to deny an employee from bringing the Administrators illegal actions to the light of day. I believe all employees including myself have a legal right to expect a Public School Division to be held accountable for their own policies as well as Federal, State and Local Laws.
Disclaimer: Please understand this does not apply to all School Board Administrators. I worked in 3 different elementary schools for eleven years and an At-Risk-High School two nights a week for nine years. Out of all the different Administrators I had during the eleven years, only the Administrators named as co-conspirators in my current case are bullies and act unprofessional.
Thanking you in advance of your donations. Any amount you can provide no matter how small will be greatly appreciated. I know the economy is sluggish and with the recent severe weather putting people out of their homes I realize the need is there for many things at this time. There are more than 90,000 employees and students in the School Division, please send this to everyone you know to show your support and stop this injustice from ever happening again to any employee within the School Division.
I would like to Thank God for getting me through this and for surrounding
me with so many caring people and to my family and friends who have helped me
to endure this nightmare by giving much needed emotional and financial
Remember:"The time is always right to do the right thing." Martin Luther King Jr.