Wednesday, November 17, 2010


CNN reported a story on Nov. 5th about an elementary school teacher who attempted to kill her husband but is still teaching.    Rebecca Allwine and her husband were having an argument and both had been drinking.  She allegedly hit him a few times on the head and neck (he didn't hit back) and then eventually dropped 10 ambien and about 18 melatonin tablets into his beer.  She left shortly after she gave him the drugged drink.  He noticed a sludge at the bottom of the glass after a few sips and called 911.  Mrs. Allwine was initially charged with battery and aggrevated assault but later pled down to misdemeanor disorderly conduct.  Because the crime had been pled down to a misdemeanor, Mrs. Allwine returned to her teaching job. 

Okay, so she was drunk and wasn't thinking clearly.  Obviously.  The argument was over whether or not her husband had been to see his girlfriend that day, so it's pretty clear the relationship is rocky, at best.  Apparently she was not aware of just how it is easy to get a divorce nowadays.   Was this a spur of the moment crime of passion?  Certainly.   At best, we can establish that she has serious impulse control issues - always an asset in the classroom.

So, since this woman was so imbalanced that she tried to off her husband, is it really a good idea that she be allowed to continue shaping the young minds in her classroom?  Shouldn't the parents of her students have been informed of the situation, perhaps given the choice on whether to keep their child in the class?  Does Georgia really have such a shortage of good teachers that she could not be replaced?  It's good that she was up front with the school and kept them informed on the progess of the case, but is she really a suitable person to have in a class full of seven year olds?  Isn't there some sort of administration position she could have been moved to?

No, of course not, because it all comes down to tenure.  That job is her entitled right, and even attempted murder cannot keep her from her post.  Thanks to her union contract, a misdemeanor is not grounds for termination, according to Julie Smith, a human resources consultant:

"Legally, they can't terminate based on a misdemeanor," she said in a telephone interview. "It's got to be a felony conviction."

Allwine's return to work has been greeted with disbelief, needless to say:

That rankled Bob Bowdon, an education expert.

"It's another 'Thank you, tenure,'" he told HLN's "Prime News." "Despite the teacher unions' refrain to be 'treated like professionals,' these are the moments when it becomes clear they also demand job guarantees that no other professionals have. How long would a CEO, a lawyer or a broadcast journalist get to continue their employement after admitting to poisoning his/her spouse? I think we all know."

 Yes, we do.  But, after all, those people don't have tenure.  Once again the unions have shown that it's not about safer, better schools with talented, qualified (non-homocidal) teachers - it's about keeping tenured teachers working and paying dues no matter what.

No wonder so many people are home schooling these days.



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