Carie Charlesworth (NBC 7 San Diego)
An elementary school teacher fired by a private San Diego-area school following a domestic violence incident involving her ex-husband is speaking out about her ordeal.
Carie Charlesworth, who taught second grade at Holy Trinity School in El Cajon, Calif., told the San Diego NBC affiliate that the incident with her ex-husband occurred back in January.
“Basically, we’d had a very bad weekend with him," Charlesworth, a mother of four, said. “We'd called the Sheriff’s Department three times on [that] Sunday."
The following morning, Charlesworth said, she informed the school of the incident and told the principal to be on the lookout for her ex-husband. When he was spotted in the parking lot, the school went into lockdown.
Charlesworth was put on indefinite leave, and her children, who also attended Holy Trinity, were removed by the school.
"At this time, Mrs. Charlesworth and her children are on an indefinite leave of absence," Francie Wright, Holy Trinity's principal, wrote in a letter to parents on Jan. 29. "We request that you keep them in your prayers."
“It felt like the kids and I were being punished for something we didn’t even do,” Charlesworth told NBC 7.
Her ex-husband was subsequently sent to prison, but in April, the school fired her anyway.
The Diocese of San Diego wrote in a letter to Charlesworth that it was concerned about her ex-husband's "threatening and menacing behavior."
The letter noted, "We feel deeply for you and about the situation in which you and your children find yourselves through no fault of your own. Although we understand he is currently incarcerated, we have no way of knowing how long or short a time he will actually serve and we understand from court files that he may be released as early as next fall. In the interest of the safety of the students, faculty and parents at Holy Trinity School, we simply cannot allow you to return to work there, or, unfortunately, at any other school in the Diocese."
Kenneth Hoyt, Charlesworth's attorney, said she intends to sue.
"They’ve taken away my ability to care for my kids,” Charlesworth said. “It’s not like I can go out and find a teaching job anywhere.”
Not surprisingly, advocates for domestic violence victims are outraged.
"We have 1 in 3 women in the United States who are victims of domestic violence," Heather Finlay, chief executive of YWCA San Diego, told NBC 7. "Firing all of them is not the answer."
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