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JOHNSON v. UNITED SCHOOL DISTRICT JOINT SCHOOL BOARD (06/13/63)

June 13, 1963

JOHNSON
v.
UNITED SCHOOL DISTRICT JOINT SCHOOL BOARD, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 4, April T., 1963, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Indiana County, Sept. T., 1962, No. 203, in case of Martha Perry Johnson v. United School District Joint School Board. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

G. S. Parnell, Sr., with him G. S. Parnell, Jr., and Parnell & Parnell, for appellant.

Robert C. Earley, for appellee.

Before Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).

Author: Woodside

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 377]

OPINION BY WOODSIDE, J.,

This is an appeal by a school district from a judgment entered on the pleadings in favor of a school teacher for salary during a period when she was not teaching because she had been notified that she had been dismissed.

The facts must be gathered exclusively from the complaint and answer, which constitute the record upon which the judgment was entered. The plaintiff admits for the purposes of her motion for judgment on the pleadings the truth of all the defendant's allegations and the untruth of any of her allegations which have been denied by the defendant. 1 Standard Pennsylvania Practice, p. 252, ยง 1034(b)-1, Goodrich-Amram; Cary v. Lower Merion School District, 362 Pa. 310, 312, 66 A.2d 762 (1949).

The facts thus determined are as follows: The plaintiff, Martha Perry Johnson, was employed by the United School District Joint School Board in Indiana County at $4000 a year under a "Temporary Contract for Professional Employe". The plaintiff was told when interviewed, again at a teacher's meeting the day before the student's school term opened, and on at least one subsequent date that she was to attend "Open House." The reference is to the evening when the parents may come to the school attended by their children, talk with the teachers and examine the work of the students. It is an important part of the school program. Prior to the holding of open house, the plaintiff advised her administrative superior that she would not attend. She was told by the defendant that "she was required to attend". Without giving any reason, she again said that she would not attend. She did not attend open house, going instead with her husband to Pittsburgh as a chaperon for children of a school in which her husband taught.

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 378]

By letter dated December 21, 1961, she was notified that as of that date she was dismissed as a temporary professional employe of the district. The reason for dismissal was given as "insubordination and lack of cooperation". The following day the plaintiff by letter requested a hearing. As it was mailed during the Christmas vacation, the letter was not received by the defendant until January. A hearing was then set for February 7, 1962, when the plaintiff and her attorney appeared before the board but refused to participate in the hearing. A subsequent request by the plaintiff for another hearing was granted and, after several postponements, a hearing was held on May 14, 1962, when the board of the school district ratified the dismissal action of December 21, 1961.

Following her dismissal on December 21, 1961, the plaintiff did not hold herself out as ready and willing to continue in the employ of the defendant, did not present herself at the United Joint High School to undertake her duties, and has made no request to return to work at any time since December 21, 1961.*fn1

The court below concluded that the teacher was "indiscreet" in refusing to attend open house, but that her refusal was not sufficient cause to bring about ...


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