A fired Madison teacher cried foul about how district officials treated her and claimed there’s a double standard in evaluating the conduct of men and women staff members.
Hawthorne Elementary School fourth and fifth grade teacher Lynette Hansen was fired last month for crossing the boundaries of what’s appropriate in teacher-student interactions. Hansen was also fired six years ago from a middle school job because school board members determined her physical affection for students crossed a line into inappropriate contact. But an arbitrator reinstated Hansen, with conditions she refrain from displaying physical affection for students.
“(I was)Vindicated because even though I’d taken a hit, I prevailed,” Hansen told 27 News. “I’m a very good teacher.” Before Hansen’s 2002 dismisal, several school parents praised her teaching and doubted her affectionate-style with children amounted to a problem.
Hansen’s reinstatement at Hawthorne was interrupted in Feburary 2007 when district officials recommended she be dismissed again. In school district documents, officials cited Hansen’s inappropriate conduct with students at Hawthorne, including having a student sit on her lap, telling a student he had “luscious lips,” and getting a requested hug from a student. School Board members agreed with district officials and fired Hansen last month. Hansen said Superintendent Art Rainwater argued leniency for Hansen’s hug of a nine year old boy would represent a “double standard.”
“Rainwater said if he hugged a nine year old girl, it would be viewed seriously,” Hansen told 27 News.
Hansen told 27 News her actions were out in the open, brief and prompted by school situations.
District spokesperson Joe Quick has yet to return a call from 27 News seeking comment on Hansen’s firing. School Board President Arlene Silveira told 27 News she could not comment on a personnel matter.