General Question

unused_bagels's avatar

School put me on Administrative Leave, What can I do?

Asked by unused_bagels (1742 points ) April 22nd, 2009

I’m in SC, on administrative leave (leave with pay & benefits), for a shadowy allegation that they won’t disclose. I have a feeling about what it is, and if I’m right, I should get off scot-free.
However, someone in my school with much influence has it in for me, and I’m rather worried about what’s going on behind closed doors.
The timeline is this: They put me on Admin. Leave, they investigate, they bring me in and dump all they found and the allegations on me, and THEN give me a chance right then to defend myself.
I have a feeling I’ll be put on the spot. Is there any way I can force them to tell me what they’re investigating, so I can get a lawyer and prepare?

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17 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

If you’re going to get a lawyer, I would do it now, if I could afford it. The lawyer might help pry the information out of them. The lawyer would also let me know what my rights are, and advocate for me in the process.

unused_bagels's avatar

what if I can’t afford one?

cookieman's avatar

Time to get an attorney.

Unless it’s a complete fabrication (which it may be), I presume you have some idea what this is about. Use that information to get the attorney started. Hopefully he/she can find out more so you’ll be best prepared to defend/explain yourself.

wundayatta's avatar

If you can’t afford it, then you might want to start looking for another job. You can fight this, but if the cards are stacked against you, and you can’t make a case for yourself, then you’ll get fired and no unemployment compensation.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I would go in to the Head “Boss” and tell them your concerns. Just be straightforward and honest. At this point you don’t have anything to lose. In the meantime I would start preparing for a job search and I would be putting up money in case you are left unemployed. You have plenty of time on your hands so start preparing your response ahead of time with whatever information you have.

cwilbur's avatar

The lawyer you hire will be able to answer this question far better than we can.

If you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, you’re going to lose anyway. Look for local low-cost Legal Aid groups – they often do work for free for people who need it and can’t afford it.

tinyfaery's avatar

Don’t you have a union rep at your school? A contract? I’m pretty sure you cannot be put on leave without knowing why.

Plus, unless you go to trial, attorney hourly fees are not that exhorbitant. They can write a letter and go with you to the showdown for a few hundred bucks.

tekn0lust's avatar

The ACLU enjoys cases like this as well. They have a nifty way of bringing a big hammer into just about any situation. They also like to get the media involved and IMO there is no better way to get something done quickly than to put the other side on the defensive. But you better have all your ducks in a row and lay it all out on the table for whoever you contact at the ACLU. Do not attempt to hide anything.

On the other hand. If a big stink gets made, will you survive it? Will you still feel comfortable working in this environment? Is this what you intend to do as a career for the rest of your life? If not then maybe it’s time to part ways and look at the situation as an unexpected nudge in a new direction.

It may seem like the end of the world but it’s not. I know from experience… In the last 2 years I had my family turned upside down, quit a job of twelve years and moved them across the state of Texas. Two years later, life is better than ever before.

Your situation is not unique, this probably happens more often than most people think.

Best wishes!

galileogirl's avatar

If you are in a union they probably provide legal counsel for job related issues.

I’m a little concerned about your getting off “scot free”. It sounds like you know you did the wrong thing but don’t think they can prove it. If that is the case, and it is a minor matter of ethical not criminal behavior, try to settle. In return for no record on your file, offer to resign at the end of the semester/quarter and move on for “personal” reasons.

However if it is a criminal or serious ethical breach, I hope you act like an adult and accept the discipline. I do not support any educator who cannot live up to professional and personal standards. I support due process but I also expect justice not luck to prevail.

Darwin's avatar

Actually, I have been called as a witness in an appeal of just such a situation. The teacher was accused of doing something to my son. My son said nothing had happened. CPS was called and investigated and said nothing had happened. The teacher was transferred to another school so things appeared to be over.

The principal is still out to get the teacher in question (there is a major personality clash) and filed with the district to terminate the teacher’s contract on the basis of the non-event. The teacher’s union has supplied the teacher with a lawyer and is appealing the district’s decision.

If you belong to any type of teacher’s union or group, check and see if they can supply a lawyer now. Lawyers have a way of knowing what information can be given you and they know what to do to get it.

Sheesh! It is a mess when politics and personalities get into the work place.

unused_bagels's avatar

@galileogirl It’s a minor ethical thing that is a stretch, and circumstantial at best. It has to do with my youtube page, which doesn’t even have my name on it, and no students know how to find (simply because I don’t tell them my username).

As far as the union thing goes, I couldn’t afford union dues because I work only part-time as a teacher and make only enough to pay the bills.
As far as the other job goes, MY PRINCIPAL KNOWS I’m joining the NAVY at the end of the semester.
She knew I was working on my letter of resignation. This is why I’m so confused.

Darwin's avatar

How does the school know about your youtube page then?

unused_bagels's avatar

@Darwin yeah, i made the mistake of telling a colleague how to find me. nothing bad, but i wouldn’t want kids looking at it. i make pg-13 cartoons on the side. I have a feling they’re going to bring this up.
Main thing this stems from is a personality clash. A teacher i work with has been fishing for and exaggerating anything she can.

Darwin's avatar

Well, I guess you learned a hard lesson. In my experience, schools are a hot bed of jealousy, competition, incompetence hating competence, and personality clashes.

One friend of mine who teaches middle school drama was called in by her principal and ordered to switch to thong underwear. Another teacher was incensed by her panty lines, but several other teachers sported much more obvious lines than my friend ever did.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Darwin I hope she pointed out that could be construed as sexual harassment as well as encouraging poor health habits. How ridiculous.

Darwin's avatar

I don’t know the details of what she did, but she still does not wear thongs.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Darwin good for her for standing her ground

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