Teacher sues state after being fired for taking student for abortion

By Around the Web

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.]

By Nancy Flanders
Live Action News

A New Hampshire teacher who lost a job and license for allegedly taking a student for an abortion is suing the Department of Education.

The unnamed former teacher is suing the New Hampshire Department of Education, commissioner Frank Edelblut, and assistant commissioner Christine Brennan, arguing that the department didn’t follow the proper process when revoking the teacher’s license. The teacher received a letter in June informing him/her about the revocation of his/her teaching credentials, but there was no investigation and they were not given the opportunity to plead their case.

Live Action News previously reported that the teacher requested sick leave as a cover to take the student for an abortion. Documents released by the New Hampshire Department of Education revealed that the teacher had been “counseling” the student for weeks regarding her pregnancy.

“[T]hey had been conversing with the student for 2.5 weeks regarding the medical appointment,” the investigation said. “[The teacher] told the student to determine how far along they were (and assisted them) so the student knew what options they’d have available.” The teacher allegedly selected the abortion business that the student was taken to for the procedure.

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The lawsuit, however, states that since the student was 18 years old at the time of the abortion, that state’s parental notification law regarding abortion does not apply. In New Hampshire, anyone under the age of 18 must inform at least one parent of the plan to abort at least 48 hours before undergoing the abortion.

“Let’s just assume that the student was under 18 and that this was a violation of parental notification. Even if you assume that all of that is true, you still can’t take away a teacher’s license without due process,” Daniel Pi, assistant professor at UNH Franklin Pierce School of Law, told WMUR9.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office said it is reviewing the complaint against the Department of Education.

While the student was allegedly 18, the situation shines a light on parental consent laws and the boundaries between teachers and students. Recently, a Michigan school board member (a state that is attempting to repeal its abortion-related parental consent law) suggested that teachers should be allowed to refer minor students for abortions without their parents’ knowledge. The board member argued that the law should “leave[] the interests of the students [in] the hands of our teachers that can make the best decision for them.”

This plan runs the risk of protecting child abusers. A San Jose teacher currently faces a lawsuit after being arrested for sexually assaulting a minor. Leigh High School teacher Shawn Thomas is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old student and then forcing her to undergo an abortion. The lawsuit also alleges that the school dean — Thomas’ wife — helped to cover it up.

Likewise, in Chicago, former Little Village Lawndale High School Dean of Students Brian Crowder is alleged to have repeatedly sexually abused a former student, later taking her for two abortions.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.]

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