Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in case of Appeal of Elizabeth Gobla v. Board of School Directors of the Crestwood School District, No. 36-78.
Peter J. O'Brien, O'Brien and Miller, for petitioner.
Joseph B. Farrell, for respondent.
Judges Mencer, Craig and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.
[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 540]
The petitioner, Elizabeth Gobla, appeals from an order of the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education affirming her dismissal as a high school teacher by the respondent, Board of School Directors of the Crestwood School District.
The petitioner was dismissed on November 2, 1978 on charges that she was guilty of persistent negligence, as well as persistent and willful violation of the school laws of the Commonwealth. Both of these charges are statutory grounds for dismissal under Section 1122 of the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. § 11-1122.
When the petitioner reported for work on September 1, 1978, four days before the beginning of the 1978-79 school year, she was informed that she was being suspended pending arrangements for a dismissal hearing. Subsequently, she was duly served with notice of the dismissal hearing and a statement of charges alleging thirty-five incidents of misconduct on her part. The charges were a catalogue of derelictions, misdeeds and infractions allegedly committed by the petitioner during the period from April 1976 into the summer of 1978.
Examples of the incidents alleged are as follows: holding a party in her classroom without prior administrative approval; using a rubber stamp to imprint the word "bull shit" in one-inch letters on a sheet on the counter in the main school office such that it was openly visible to staff, students and visitors; using a wrench to remove the univent cover in her classroom and disconnecting the damper to raise the room temperature to over 80 degrees Farenheit; failing to hand in lesson plans; and failure to release a student from class after being instructed to do so by the principal, which resulted in the petitioner ridiculing the principal and the student. Also charged was an incident
[ 51 Pa. Commw. Page 541]
in which the petitioner covered her classroom windows with construction paper, in such a way as to obstruct visibility into the room. When instructed to remove it, she cut a small "peep-hole" into the paper.
After hearings on October 3 and October 9, 1978, the Board of School Directors voted unanimously, on November 1, 1978, to dismiss the petitioner. The Secretary of Education sustained the dismissal and in the process made 32 findings of fact, 23 of which detail acts and omissions by the petitioner which rise to the level of persistent negligence and persistent and willful violation of the school laws.
The dismissal hearings of October 1978 were not the first school action against petitioner Gobla. In March 1978, she was given a disciplinary hearing on charges of abusing the school sign-in sheet. Specifically, she was alleged to have persistently and deliberately used ...