A school teacher working for a Washington D.C. charter elementary school was sexually harassed. Instead of consoling the woman, the school decided to place her on unpaid leaves.
The assault was reportedly captured on camera, and yet the school decided to put the teacher on unpaid leave for the rest of the year.
Teacher Page Garbee had to go through the horrific encounter in May at an Achievement Prep Academy public charter elementary school event, called “Muffins For Moms.”
Garbee was posing for pictures with mothers of children at the event. She was standing with a mother who had brought another female guest along with her, when she felt something unusual. That guest started harassing Garbee.
“All of a sudden, I felt someone smacking my behind. I stood up, bewildered, looked over and I put out my hands. I'm not sure what I said. ‘No. Stop.’ But it was a moment of shock for me. Then, all of a sudden, there was a hand reaching underneath my skirt. As the woman said, I want to finger your [redacted]. Again, I started backing away. I said ‘no.’ And then she made sort of a lunging motion at me and grabbed my breasts,” she recalled.
Two weeks after the assault, police finally found and arrested the woman identified as 29-year-old Andrea Shantora Brown.
Garbee wanted to return back to school, but she wanted the school to increase safety measures.
“What I tried to communicate with APA was, ‘I'm OK to return but I need something until an arrest is made. My safety and well-being has been threatened and I don't feel safe,’” she said.
But things did not play out well for the teacher.
After the teacher told the management about her concerns, she got the news of being on an unpaid leave for the rest of the year.
“All of a sudden, automated messages from the HR system just started entering: unpaid day, unpaid day, unpaid day.”
The doctors suggested Garbee take a mental health leave. But the school only offered unpaid medical leave and they even deducted $3000 from her pay for the medical expenses.
As if being physically and mentally scarred wasn’t enough, the school decided to financially scar the woman to makes things worse for her.
“It was very hard for me. I never said goodbye to my kids. I've had some of these kids for three years. It's really hard for me that I just disappeared from their lives,” said Garbee.
The only thing the school did was console her with empty words.
“None of us could have ever anticipated that an event that she herself so gracefully planned and led to honor the ‘moms’ of our scholars, would end the way it did. We truly hope Ms. Garbee continues to heal and receive the support she needs. Our goal is not to add to any stress or cause any additional stressors for Ms. Garbee,” said the school’s management.
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