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San Diego teacher says she was fired for being an abuse victim

A second-grade teacher at Holy Trinity School in San Diego has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit because she was put on indefinite leave, which was publicized to students and parents, then ultimately fired -- simply because her abusive ex-husband showed up at the school and made a scene. Her children, who were students at the school, were also asked to leave.

According to reports, the teacher had a restraining order against her ex-husband. Unfortunately, he ignored that order and showed up at the school anyway last January. The official response to the incident was to put the entire school on lockdown, even though there is no evidence that the man was armed or a danger to anyone other than the teacher.

Although officials from the Diocese of San Diego, which operates the school, offered to pray for the teacher, they apparently decided the incident was her responsibility. The Huffington Post quotes this letter the teacher received from the Diocese:

“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.”

Sadly, it appears that the wrongful termination of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors is not uncommon in California. According to a studies by the Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center and the Legal Momentum Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, 40 percent of Californian survivors of domestic abuse report being fired as a result. Nationally, up to 50 percent of domestic violence or sexual assault survivors said they were terminated afterwards.

Source: Huffington Post, “Carie Charlesworth, Teacher, Fired After Being Abused,” Simon McCormack, June 13, 2013

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