If I had a dollar for every time I heard a teacher tell a student that sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you, I’d be a wealthy man. As kids, we were all teased and called names and made fun of by someone and yet most of us turned out okay.
But one Massachusetts teacher is going against the age old teacherly advice and claims that names have hurt her so much that she is no longer able to teach and is demanding the school pays for her medical treatment and disability.
Meet Carolyn Gardner, a former math teacher at Amherst Regional High School who happens to be black. She claims that in May, a number of racist graffiti messages were left around the school and that those messages targeted her. Additionally, a threatening note was left at the school that mentioned Gardner by name.
The graffiti, which was found in both the boys and girls bathrooms, were so upsetting to Gardner that she was allegedly diagnosed with PTSD and was placed on paid administrative leave. PTSD is what military personnel experience after being in combat and witnessing the horrors of war.
The school district had planned on Gardner returning to the classroom this Fall, but in mid-August she informed the district that due to her continuing PTSD that she was unable to return. The school district then placed her on unpaid medical leave.
Gardner claims that she tried to work out some sort of agreement with the district where they would continue to pay for her treatment of PTSD, but says she and district were unable to come to any agreement. According to the school district attorneys, they offered Garner a different teaching position which she was fully qualified for, but she rejected that offer.
That prompted to her file a discrimination complaint against the district. In her complaint she made demands that included a huge financial settlement. The district countered her offer but Gardner and her attorney rejected the district’s counter offer.
Regina Williams Tate, the attorney for the school district commented about the district’s response, saying that they:
“…flatly rejected by the attorneys for Ms. Gardner because the offer, while substantial, was significantly less than the excessive level of compensation requested by the attorneys for Ms. Gardner.”
“The district is surprised that Ms. Gardner’s attorneys released a statement to the press about a pending legal matter. An alternative position, for which she was licensed and qualified, was offered to her; her attorneys declined to accept the other position on her behalf.”
Victor Skinner covered this story on EAGnews.com and posted the comments left by some people on MassLive.com. Here are some of those comments left by others:
“Many who commented on the MassLive story clearly believe Gardner is simply looking for a payday.”
“‘This is hilarious!’ Nbefor Belair posted. ‘Hey wait, I think I just got PTSD from reading this story … Quick, gimme some money!’”
“‘Gardner is just another ‘gimmie girl’ playing the ultra liberal system in never never land,’ Orebil posted.”
“‘Throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. It doesn’t cost you anything to file a claim with MCAD. The taxpayers foot the bill. If you fail, the taxpayers paid to handle your phony claim,’ fpneighbor3 wrote. ‘If you succeed, the taxpayers paid to get themselves screwed to pay you off.’”
“‘Isn’t the People’s Socialist Republic of Taxachusetts a great place to live?’”
I know I don’t have all of the facts, but I tend to agree with the comments left by others. There is nothing in any of the reports that say that Garner was attacked, physically harmed nor did she witness any horrific atrocity. I believe she is overacting to students’ pranks and if she can’t handle that then she has no business teaching to begin with. It seems that Gardner is looking for a large payout so she doesn’t have to work to support herself and her son. She’s looking for a free ride on taxpayer dollars.