Saturday, July 15, 2006

Soldier Punished For Serving...

A soldier was fired from his teaching job because the director of schools feels like teaching should have taken priority...

Despite a guarantee in the National School Boards Association that jobs of military personnel are protected while they are serving, Capt. John Parker has been dismissed.

"...Like so many soldiers who have helped fight the war on terror, Capt. John Parker put his life on the line every day while he was deployed in Afghanistan.

"I signed up to serve my country," Parker tells NewsChannel 5 investigative reporter Jennifer Kraus. And serve he did, which is why he was so shocked at how he was treated when he came back home to Wilson County.

"It just made me feel that the people I was fighting for were the exact people that were taking my job from me," he adds.

You see, Parker is not just a soldier. He's also a teacher who taught criminal justice to high school students and helped coach the school wrestling team. Before he was sent to the Middle East with the Army Reserves.

Parker says that before he left, "I just told all the kids, 'Hey, I'll be going, but I'll be back.'"

He went back to Wilson Central High School after his first year-long tour in Afghanistan. And, after a second tour of duty there, he expected to return to the classroom again.

Parker should have had no problem going back to work thanks to a special federal law that protects soldiers like Parker. It guarantees that, when they come home from their deployment, they'll get their old jobs back for at least a year. But just one month after Parker went back to work, the Wilson County School system told him his teaching contract was not being renewed and he was out of a job.

...Despite the law, the director of schools says he still feels that when class started, instead of being on the battlefield, Parker should have been in the classroom..." (source)

I wouldn't have been as shocked if this had happened in New York or California...but it's in Tennessee... and it's disgraceful. Think the school director has an agenda...?

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