Tennessee teacher forced to resign after taking sick student to ER and paying the bill

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“No good deed goes unpunished.”

Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right.

However, this was the reality for a Tennessee teacher named Jennifer Mitts, who says she was forced to resign from her post at Red Bank High School after she took an ill student to the emergency room and paid for the bill.

Mitts footed the bill because the 20-year-old student did not have health insurance, according to an online petition supporting the teacher.

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Even though officials at the school say that they were only threatening to temporarily suspend Mitts for her caring deed, she told WTVC-TV that school officials “dictated to (me) what (I) should write in the resignation letter, including forcing (me) to waive (my) right to a hearing.”

Assistant superintendent of human resources for the district, Stacey Stewart, said that Mitts resigned on her own accord and that she was never forced to waive her rights. She also said that Mitts had been in trouble for a similar situation in the past.

Rewind to last year, when she took a young female student to the emergency room. The student, who had a temperature of 105, pneumonia, a kidney infection, a bladder infection and was 7 months pregnant, claims that Mitts saved her life, as well as her baby boy’s.

“It’s a liability issue,” said Stewart. “It’s an issue of insubordination after doing something you were officially warned not to do and doing it again.” HR officials state that a tenured teacher such as Mitts could only be fired for five reasons: insubordination, inefficiency, incompetence, neglect of duty and conduct unbecoming of a teacher. Stewart claims Mitts violated three of these policies.

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Students and local residents disagree. They have formed a petition in support of Mitts to be reinstated, and by Monday afternoon it had received more than 500 signatures. The petition, titled "Bring Mitts Back," says that while Mitts previously got in trouble for taking an ill student to a doctor (with permission from the student’s parents), she thought it was okay this time because the student was over the age of 18.

Apparently she was wrong, and her caring nature has now got her in some hot water.

The petition states: “Even though both students may have suffered harm by not going to the doctor, Principal Roberts saw fit to give Miss Mitts the choice of being fired or resigning for her good deeds.”

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"Honestly if it was my child and we couldn't afford it out of pocket, I hope there would be somebody that would do that for us," said Ashley Gonzales, a resident who signed the petition in Mitts' favour.

One of the commenters on the petition claimed to be the young pregnant girl whom Mitts brought to the doctor last year. “Ms. Mitts saved my baby boys life as well as mine! And she did it out of the kindness of her heart, NOT because I asked [all sic],” said the girl.

Mitts, who had been teaching at Red Bank High School for 14 years, says she plans to file a lawsuit. Who can blame her when all she was trying to do was care for her students, and instead of being rewarded for her kindness, she got the boot.

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