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teacher fired for being a domestic violence victim. A lot of the parents agree with the decision. How do you feel about this?

60 replies

vivizone · 15/06/2013 01:16

To sack her though? she is NOT responsible for another person's action.

But I don't know if the parents are being unreasonable or not worrying about the safety of their children. It would definitely be in the back of my mind but I wouldn't want her sacked at all.

It's just sad all round.

OP posts:

PorkPieandPickle · 15/06/2013 01:25

Wow, this totally shocked me. I just don't see how it can be legal to fire someone for this. So absolutely sad that she is being bullied in her professional life too. Zero support for an issue that I would expect much more understanding and awareness of.


BridgetBidet · 15/06/2013 01:26

This is a virus.


Darkesteyes · 15/06/2013 01:33

Its victim blaming taken to a whole new level.


roadkillbunny · 15/06/2013 01:43

This is appalling!
The school community, especially as also a Christian community should be pulling together to help and support this woman not turning them out in the cold.
I can't say that this kind of behaviour surprises me when it comes to the Catholic Church but it saddens me greatly.
This couldn't happen in this country and it seems that in the public sector of education in the US it would also be illegal but due to the fact it is a Catholic school they have found a loophole to exploit. Just awful.
I really hope that she maintains her strength and takes this to tribunal/court (which ever is appropriate in the US).

To answer the question, the parents ABVU to feel that sacking the teacher and expelling her children is the way forward. Sickens me they call themselves Christian.


HollyBerryBush · 15/06/2013 06:25

My speakers are buggered - would someone be able to give a summary of the facts?


marriedinwhiteagain · 15/06/2013 06:58

Agree with Holly - where's the summary. Is there more to this than meets the eye? Was she really sacked for being a victim of domestic violence or was there an incident at the school which broke the professional code of conduct and risked the children at the school?


HollyBerryBush · 15/06/2013 07:03

Found the paper version:

A San Diego teacher was fired by Holy Trinity School following a domestic violence incident involving her ex-husband.

Second-grade teacher Carie Charlesworth is out of a job, but not for anything she did in the classroom. Her school district considers her a liability and too unsafe to have around following a domestic violence dispute that happened earlier this year.

A letter sent to Charlesworth said that school officials are concerned about her ex-husband's "threatening and menacing behavior," and as a result they "cannot allow" her to continue teaching at the Holy Trinity School.

"They?ve taken away my ability to care for my kids,? said Charlesworth. ?It?s not like I can go out and find a teaching job anywhere.?

The mother of four children didn?t think this would ever be her story to tell, but she is using her name and showing her face in hopes of bringing attention to a larger problem.

It?s a story that has domestic violence advocates outraged, fearing it will only reinforce an age-old problem where victims stay silent ? but equally concerned are the school's parents, not wanting their kids in the middle of it.

?Basically, we?d had a very bad weekend with him, we?d called the sheriff?s department three times on Sunday with him,? said Charlesworth, referring to an incident in January that put her leave of absence in motion.

She went to her principal at Holy Trinity School in El Cajon the following morning and told the principal to be on the lookout for her ex-husband. As many domestic violence cases go, this one has a trail of restraining orders and 911 calls. When Charlesworth?s ex-husband showed up in the school parking lot, the school went into lockdown.

Charlesworth and her four kids, who also attended Holy Trinity School, have not been back since the January incident. A letter was sent home to parents the following day, explaining the situation and noting Charlesworth and her children were being put "on an indefinite leave.?

While Charlesworth?s husband went to jail on two felony charges, she says she felt like a criminal too.

?And that?s what it felt like, the kids and I were being punished for something we didn?t even do,? she told NBC 7 San Diego.

Three months later, another letter arrived in the mail delivering a crushing blow. Charlesworth was fired for good, and after 14 years in the district not allowed to teach at any other Diocesan school.

The letter stated:

"We know from the most recent incident involving you and Mrs. Wright (the principal) while you were still physically at Holy Trinity School, that the temporary restraining order in effect were not a deterrent to him. Although we understand he is current incarcerated, we have no way of knowing how long or short a time he will actually serve and we understand from court files that he may be released as early as next fall. In the interest of the safety of the students, faculty and parents at Holy Trinity School, we simply cannot allow you to return to work there, or, unfortunately, at any other school in the Diocese."

When asked for a response, Tom Beecher, Director of the San Diego Diocese Office for Schools wrote in an email to NBC 7 San Diego: ?The diocese does not make public comment about personnel issues.?

Several parents at Holy Trinity, not disclosing their names out of safety concerns, said the district did the right thing in a no-win situation because they feared for the safety of their own children. Several parents mentioned being part of a movement to ?pull kids out of the school? if Charlesworth returned.

?I mean that?s why women of domestic violence don?t come forward, because they?re afraid of the way people are going to see them, view them, perceive them, treat them,? said Charlesworth.

A 2011 study by Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center shows Charlesworth isn?t alone: Nearly 40 percent of survivors in California reported being fired or feared termination because of domestic violence.

Charlesworth?s attorney Kenneth Hoyt, who intends to file a lawsuit on her behalf, said it may be an uphill climb because of something called "Ministerial Exception.? As part of her duties Charlesworth taught religion, and even though it was a small part of her daily lesson plan, there's legal precedence showing she can be fired without cause just like a priest or pastor.

?I have not been back to a Catholic church since this happened? said Charlesworth, who admits her life has been turned upside down because ?everything I thought I had, I don?t.?

She is being paid through August, but doesn?t know where she?ll turn next. Her ex-husband is scheduled to be released from Jail at the end of June.



FreshLeticia · 15/06/2013 07:06

ah, I see. The ex has been threatening at the school as well. Hmmm.


SpooMoo · 15/06/2013 07:09

Thankfully the Equality Act 2010 prevents this happening here in the UK (legally speaking). The USA is fucked up.


HollyBerryBush · 15/06/2013 07:14

Difficult call really. On one hand I support her - on the other, if I had children at the school, and her ex H is a certifiable violent lunatic with a history of breaking restraining orders and turning up at the school, in a country where owning a gun is as common place as owning a car, I think I would be wanting my child/ren kept safe.

He is the problem, not her - but how do you solve it? You can only lock someone up for a crime that they have committed, not what they might commit.

But the safety of the school is paramount.

the bigger question is, how can the state protect her?


cansu · 15/06/2013 07:25

I don't think it's a difficult call at all. It is the responsibility of the police to arrest him. Its an outrageous decision and one which encourages victims to cover up abuse.


HollyBerryBush · 15/06/2013 07:31

It is the responsibility of the police to arrest him

But he can only be arrested when a crime has been committed - not because he's breathing.

from the letter sent to the woman:

We know from the most recent incident involving you and Mrs. Wright (the principal) while you were still physically at Holy Trinity School, that the temporary restraining order in effect were not a deterrent to him

I deduce that he has already turned up at the school, threatened a staff member, or been verbally aggressive, managed to get to the victim. she may or may not have been in a classroom at the time, there is never enough information with regard to circumstances surrounding the incidents.

What ever he did, he's certainly in prison at the moment with an imminent release.

He's probably made his intentions quite clear - but he cannot be arrested until he again approaches the victim. He's already shown he has no regard for the restraining order, nor the face he's in a school with children around.

If I were the parent I would not be happy about the potential in a situation like this.

But again - the real question is: How can the state protect this woman?


HollyBerryBush · 15/06/2013 07:33

Several parents mentioned being part of a movement to ?pull kids out of the school? if Charlesworth returned

So there is already a parental movement to remove children if she is allowed to return to work.

Falling roll numbers and reputation of the school will cause redundancies amongst other staff possible school closure.

Other people should not be brought into this - so I guess it is the sacrifice of one to protect the many. I can't think of a better way to phrase other peoples safety and job security.


mummytime · 15/06/2013 07:43

I assume it is also a Private/Parochial school going by the name? Most schools called Holy Trinity are in the US. It's a naice suburb too.

But yes a total disgrace, I would hope some lawyer sues them.


HollyBerryBush · 15/06/2013 07:45

There could be a whole lot of suing going on - compensation cures all ills in the US - Mrs Wright could possibly sue for not being kept safe in the work place.


blameitonthecaffeine · 15/06/2013 07:46

It's a sad situation but I think they did the right thing. Children's safety has to come before everything else, even if it is unfair on adults. If there is even a minute risk of this man turning up at the school with a weapon then she should not be there.

However, it should be the school district's responsibility to help her find a job in a new location, unknown to her husband,if that is what she wants.


roundtable · 15/06/2013 08:31

I think the way it's been handled is disgusting.

The message to the children and parents is that victims of domestic violence should put up and shut up and if you don't, you won't be supported. Disgusting.

The school, police and the teacher should have been working together to keep everyone safe. I'm gobsmacked that people think this is ok.


Lovelygoldboots · 15/06/2013 08:58

This whole situation has been handled appallingly. Of course schools should safeguard staff and children. But by sacking a victim of violence? Are we living in the 21st century. Its hard to glean all the true facts here but if this guy has been threatening other members of staff, why are the police not involved? Shocking.


manicinsomniac · 15/06/2013 09:02

What else could they do? They can't allow a potential threat to the children in their care. If I thought there was a remote possibility that anyone was going to pose a threat to me I wouldn't come within a mile of my class. Police presence wouldn't change my mind, it would go against all my professional and caring instincts. Putting them at any risk isn't acceptable.

I agree that she needs to be given a job somewhere else though.


sashh · 15/06/2013 09:10

So he's physically violent and has found a way to push her out of her job to continue to abuse her.

There is a lot the school could do instead. If he is known to ignore the restraining order then hire a security guard just to stop him and call the police so he is arrested for breaching the order.

California has a three strikes law, he turns up and breaches the order another two times and he is in prison for life.

Children safe, teacher safe, problem solved for the salary of a security guard.


Lovelygoldboots · 15/06/2013 09:15

It's either a threat or it isn't. Surely the person dealing out the threat needs to be dealt with appropriately. If she is found a job at another school how does that help? The same problem applies. It's also shifting the blame to the victim. She has done nothing wrong. I work in a school and I love my job. If I was forced to leave my home and community because I'd sustained domestic violence I would struggle to pick up the pieces. Yes, leta just sweep the victim out of the way.


BeQuicksieorBeDead · 15/06/2013 09:15

If he is a dangerous gun wielding maniac, dont you think he should be stopped from roaming any school district?!

I am absolutely gobsmacked and appalled that anyone on here would think they did the right thing in sacking an innocent victim. What does that say to the kids?! Shut up and put up, or you will get worse treatment from supposed supportive educationalists.

How many kids do you think go to school, to be protected from parents who are abusive and not allowed contact? How many photos of legally restrained fathers do you think are in my staff room? Shall we kick all of those kids out incase their dads do turn up and hurt someone else?

Disgusting attitude. I feel sick.


Lovelygoldboots · 15/06/2013 09:22

I would like to add, everyone who works in a school, from the head to the dinner ladies, do it because they love the children and want whats best for them. She sounds like an amazing woman and I.hope this shit is sorted soon.


OwlinaTree · 15/06/2013 09:27

This is an awful story, mother trying to protect herself and her children ends up fired?

What if a child had an abusive parent who turned up at the school unannounced, would they exclude the child? Schools have security in the UK, locked doors, gates, staff briefed on potential issues etc, surely they have this in the states, and more so?

Whenever this has been a case where i work families have been supported, not shunned by the school community. I take on board the guns issue, but surely schools have emergency plans for this?

Failing everything else, if they wanted her off the premises, they could keep her paid and support her to move somewhere else to work where she is safe, or support her while her husband is prosecuted?

What message does this send to the school community? They are sadly naive if they think this is the only family being affected by domestic violence. No-one else is going to own up to it now, leaving children in vulnerable and unstable homes. I can't believe a system would let someone down so badly.


OwlinaTree · 15/06/2013 09:29

sorry, x post with BeQuicksieorBeDead

hear hear!!

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