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A Hillcrest Elementary School teacher sent e-mails detailing drinking, prescription drug use and sexual behavior, and called students, parents and staff members names. She also took advantage of sick days and scared fellow teachers.

Those are among the findings of a Chippewa Falls School District investigation of fifth-grade teacher Elizabeth McElhenny.

The report, which detailed how her behavior made for a hostile work environment, was released Friday, one day after the school board accepted her resignation. 

McElhenny, a 14-year veteran of the district, had fought the release of the records, but requested her lawsuit be withdrawn Friday, a day after it was filed.

The Herald filed an open records request in April, and the request was filled Friday. The district waited until the investigation concluded to release the report. 

The investigation reveals numerous violations for which it was recommended she be fired. At the conclusion of the report, Scott Mikesh, staff counsel for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Inc., writes, “Therefore it is my opinion that the district should terminate the employment relationship with Ms. McElhenny ...”

McElhenny was investigated after another Hillcrest teacher filed a formal hostile workplace complaint on Jan. 27.

“I have personally observed Beth McElhenny herself, and through coercive involvement of others target students, staff, and administration in an ongoing aggressive and belligerent effort to control and undermine the operations of Hillcrest Elementary School that spans back several years,” the complaint states.

The district promptly began an investigation that spanned from January 2009 through January 2010.

On Feb. 4, McElhenny was placed on paid administrative leave, which forbid her from returning on district property. Parents said at an April 15 school board meeting that McElhenny was escorted out of the school building on Feb. 3.

In a letter given to McElhenny on Feb. 4, the reason for the administrative leave was explained as “in recognition that sensitivities can be heightened during times like these, and we want to remove you from situations where accusations of tampering could be made.” It also instructed her “not to interfere with the investigation being conducted by the district.”

After her leave began, 22 staff members of Hillcrest Elementary were interviewed, mostly on Feb. 4 and 5. McElhenny was interviewed on April 8, May 27, July 21 and July 22.

The investigation found that McElhenny spent much of her classroom and preparation time sending e-mails and text messages, with many e-mails inappropriately referencing drinking alcohol, taking and distributing prescription drugs and participating in sexual situations. There was also namecalling of students, parents, fellow staff members and Principal Robert Vanderloop.

She sent 3,811 e-mails over 169 class days from January 2009 to January 2010. That averages to about 23 e-mails per day. Mikesh concluded that if she spent one minute with each e-mail, that would add up to 38 hours of class time and 19 hours of preparation time, as accounted for by the hours the e-mails were sent.

“A comparison of Ms. McElhenny’s e-mail activity to that of other district teachers indicates that Ms. McElhenny’s e-mail usage is considerably higher than other district teachers. As such, Ms. McElhenny’s e-mail usage is excessive and inappropriate,” the report says.

Though many e-mails were inappropriate, McElhenny said during interviews that most were sarcastic and in a joking manner.

In several e-mails, she references after-school alcohol use and prescription drug use during and outside of school by herself and other teachers.

In the alcohol-related e-mails, McElhenny referred to alcohol as “water,” and several e-mails stated she “had too much ‘water’ last night.”

McElhenny also makes many references to the use of prescription drugs Alprazolam as “praz” and Vicodin as “vico.” In one e-mail to several co-workers, she writes, “i could tell my 4:30t this morning that it was going to be THAT KIND OF DAY 1/2 praz every 3 hours started at 7:10 this morning and will continue taking a nibble of my magic relaxing potion every 3 hours.” (sic)

The investigation also revealed McElhenny and some co-workers shared prescription medications with one another.

Besides the revelations of alcohol and prescription drug use, McElhenny also discussed sexual encounters, at one time at length, with her co-workers via e-mail.

The teacher used vulgar language to refer to some co-workers, including words and phrases such as “cult members,” “nutjob,” “crabbypants,” “cuckoo woman” and “Nazi aides.” There is also a table that cites nearly 50 different words and phrases using profanity.

The e-mails weren’t only demeaning to co-workers, but students and parents as well. She writes in one e-mail, “could that student possibly be [student initials removed]? I am very familiar with that THING and also with his mother THING 2 He is the first person that comes to mind… … Do not allow him to SUCK THE LIFE OUT OF YOU!”

In another, she says, “it’s just such a waste of time with the dummies.” There’s also a list of phrases she used to refer to her job, such as “hate it here today,” “really do wish I cared” and “this is a day of torture.”

McElhenny often requested that co-workers destroy e-mails and expressed concern for using school e-mail to discuss certain topics.

The behavior wasn’t just limited to e-mails, staff said in interviews.

“In response to the question: ‘Are you afraid of Beth McElhenny?’ a number of people hesitated for quite some time before answering,” the report said, before adding that at least half had answered yes to the question.

One teacher said, “My perspective of Beth McElhenny when I first met her is that she is the girl who will pull in anybody she can and she is mean. She is a mean person.”

The teacher who filed the complaint kept a journal beginning in September 2009 and running through Jan. 18, 2010 of observed inappropriate behaviors. Ten examples appeared in the journal.

Besides behavioral issues, McElhenny was also accused of using sick time when she was not ill or didn’t have a doctor’s appointment. She said she used many “mental health days.”

“Ms. McElhenny stated that her definition of a mental health day is simply a day in which she does not feel, mentally, like she can work. Ms. McElhenny stated that some of her ‘mental health days’ are accompanied by physical symptoms, but some are not,” the report states.

It was suggested that McElhenny be terminated because she did, in fact, create a hostile work environment.

“As such, attempting to analyze the instant situation from the district’s perspective, it is difficult to envision a situation where Ms. McElhenny could re-enter the classroom as a trusted and respected employee and co-worker,” the report says in its conclusion.

“More importantly, however, attempting to analyze the instant situation from the perspective of a district parent or student, it is difficult to envision a situation where Ms. McElhenny could re-enter the classroom as a trusted and respected teacher.”

The district had set a meeting for Aug. 12 to “consider the termination of a teacher,” according to the agenda, but that meeting was postponed.

Thursday’s special meeting was then scheduled to “consider a settlement offer in an employment matter,” according to the original agenda. After McElhenny submitted her resignation letter, the agenda changed to reflect the approval of the resignation.

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(92) comments

mncst1

Dear employeess of Chippewa Falls School District, you should all be as nervous a cats in a room full of rocking chairs...you could be next. This is, and always has been, a witch hunt of epic proportions brought upon by a an insecure little man and his scared little lackeys. Hillcrest has lost an excellent teacher. Such a shame!

warrior

This is a situation that as a parent of a child in this classroomn could have been handled in a more mature way that was respectful of everyone involved (including the children). As far as I know there was no warning given, no attempt to COMMUNICATE to bring the teacher that filed that complaint and the person involved together to discuss differences. A journal? Really? Why not be a MATURE person and TALK to the person that you feel is acting inaappropriately?

warrior

Most of us have said or done things we aren't proud of. I have met Ms. McElhenny and she is not SCARY, or an alcholic, or a 'druggy' as it appears some people would like us to percieve. Knowing the sarcastic person that she is I'm sure she was referencing the stressful nature of teaching young children in often overcrowded classrooms. yes, she sent a lot of emails..how many were one word replies? And, who was she emailing? I'd also like to know which teacher filed the complaint....

SandyB

Right, lets keep supporting someone who obviously has a mental problem along with drinking & drug issues. Addicts aren't exactly the easiest people to talk to like a "mature adult". Why don't all the supporters of this Beth gal be a true friend and get her the help she needs.

miller05

The CFSD has become a meat grinder. I think everyone needs to re-evaluate who they are placing as the board. The legistlature has given them too much power and good people are being hurt.

gardener

Thank you school board for doing your job and doing it thoroughly. I applaud you.

cfcitizen

How could any of you defend these actions by this teacher? She sent emails stating she was on pills while she was teaching. You wonder why some of the kids are screwed up? Because the teacher is high while teaching. Also, all those personal emials is considered time theft, she could have been working on teaching kids, but instead talked about how she spent her night over and over again. She may be a nice person, but this isnt the job for her. Find another job that doesnt impact kids lives.

chipplady

Defending this person? Quite odd when usually people are upset when someone who is paid w/tax dollars is not using their time in a productive manner. One who teaches children should be exuding a more positive attitude towards their job or find something else. She used an inappropriate amount of time sending emails during work time and even if she was 'just joking' or 'being sarcastic' (which I'm sure her co-workers would understand and accept,if indeed it was meant to be just that)...cont'd.

chipplady

a professional person know that there are things you do not put into an email, such as derogatory remarks about others, it can, which she is finding out, be used against you. Witch hunts are conducted with no evidence, which the schoolboard seems to have enough of. Also, why would you need to know exactly who put in the complaint? It's enough that someone felt that it was time to complain. Enough is apparently enough!

warrior

Okay Sandy B. assumming that she IS a drug addict which is preposterous...then shouldn't she have access to help? Shouldn't someone have reached out to her? Look at Jeff Wood, and many other public figures....gosh. ChippLady: Why should the person who filed the complaint be anonymous? Again, sooo much drama, could've been handled behind closed doors. I'm sure no matter what your profession is you wouldn't want your personal life on display for everyone to judge.

warrior

I know she is a public school teacher, but she is a person. Can we remember this? Throwing around terms loosely like "addict", "druggy" is dangerous and vindictive. There are three sides to every story: my side, your side, and the truth! I thought she was a wonderful teacher, my child enjoyed her, and was learning. It was a horrible year for the kids in that classroom. Inconsistency, lack of information NIGHTMARE..It is my opinion that this could have been handled more sensitively.

JackyD

Really "mncst1"? Let me guess the government also watches your house everyday because of the alien UFO site in your back yard. This has nothing to do with people hunting "witches," it has everything to do with a disturbed teacher being relieved of her position because of her own failure to survive with the rest civilization. If I didn't know any better I would say your a friend or family member of hers trying to prevent her from being fed to the wolves online.

Michael

I do not know of too many employers that wouldn’t fire their employees for similar behavior.

lake_girl

I very strongly support her decision to leave this teaching career. Even as a student studying elementary ed I know the difference between right and wrong in the workplace and this is an example of one more open position for someone who can do a better job teaching students. Please, lets keep schools a place where teachers are dedicated to teaching instead of a place to brag about who you banged when you were drunk.

Wilson

The teacher in question needs help and should receive it. Under ADA if she has a drug or other substance abuse problem she should receive treatment and reassigned. If most of you knew the number of other professionals who suffer the same issues you would be shocked.

aanngh

hey warrior, I agree with sandy b. who said she didn't have access to help, warrior? obviously she has a problem, and it isn't preposterous to think she's an addict when she writes emails that say this:
“i could tell my 4:30t this morning that it was going to be THAT KIND OF DAY 1/2 praz every 3 hours started at 7:10..." I work with kids, too, and have never once thought of self prescribing medications to get through the day. is that seriously who you want teaching your kids?

chipplady

First of all, before it gets to the point of no return so to speak, there are steps taken to assist the person. Teachers have a union & there usually is an employee assistance program available to all! Any human being is suseptible to some sort of mental illness short or long term and can be on medication prescribed by a Dr. not just taken willy nilly as you please. This wouldn't be any one's business so don't put it out there and put yourself on that big spot on the target.

OKOKOKOK

So it would seem, that many of the posters think that a school teacher shouldn't be held anymore accountable than, say for instance, a person who mucks out hog pens for a living. And that view is preposterous!!!

Not For Nothing

[quote]warrior said: ... A journal? Really? Why not be a MATURE person and TALK to the person that you feel is acting inaappropriately?"[/quote]

They don't mean journal as in "Dear Diary". They mean journal as in log. When an employee feels they are being subjected to a hostile work environment often the legal advise is to keep a journal or log of the offending incidents. That log can become invaluable in backing up a later complaint; as this journal so clearly did.

Mother2

My son had her a few years back as a teacher. I sent several letters to Mr. Wilson and the Super reguarding Mrs. E. I got nowhere with either. I was tired of her referring to taking a "Stupid Pill" whenever her or a student did something forgetfull or dumb. She often whould put her finger to her head and pull the trigger. My child asked me once why she would want to kill herself over a mistake or take a pill. I am glad no other parents have to go though all of that.

Hillcrest Parent

As a Hillcrest parent who 3 of my children had Mrs. Mac as the children so foundly refer to her, she was and is an amazing teacher! My daughter was very shy and she gave her confidence to speak her mind, learn and grow! She made learning FUN! I had requested her for my other children, as MANY other parents have and would have continued to do so. Before you cast the first stone, think about how many things WE all write in emails that WE think are PRIVATE!
I am sadden at Hillcrest's loss!

8588

Only as an opinion. I do not personally know this person but if even half of what was reported is the truth then this woman does not belong in a classroom. She needs to get herself some help and get her own life in order.

purple

I agree this could have been handled in a more respectful manner. I'm led to believe this is a one-sided view as there are serveral comments to the contrary. I wonder where is the administrator in this incident? If a teacher is not following policy, an administrator should be working with the teacher to improve the situation before it would ever reach the situation as portrayed. In a time when public education is under fire, is this the kind of press the Chippewa Falls School District wants?

purple

I'm led to believe this is a one-sided portrayal as their are several comments to the contrary. I wonder where was the administrator in this situation? If a teacher is not following district policy, an administrator should be working with the teacher to correct the situation. In a time when public education is under fire, is this the kind of press the Chippewa Falls School District wants?

Kristina

Were her students harmed bc she sent vulgar messages to coworkers/friends? No. Or harmed bc some teachers don't like each other? No. Isn't her life outside the classroom her own? Yes. "High" @ work? Speculative-"Praz" is for anxiety, not to get high. Misuse of time? Defin'ly. Bullying coworkers? Relative. Write her up/get her asstnce? YES! Parents questioning her behavior is reasonable. Voyeurs:Do you feel better about yourselves making sanctimonious judgment calls? Examine your own conscience.

Kristina

[quote]Michael said: "I do not know of too many employers that wouldn’t fire their employees for similar behavior. "[/quote]

I know a lot more employers who would have handled the situation in a more discreet and respectful fashion to avoid calling unneeded attention to the workplace.

Pinky

Hey Hillcrest Parent, How do you know your kid wasn't the "dummy"?

lake_girl

Well because Pinky no kids are "dummies". The bottom line is that it happened. This teacher obviously knew what she was doing had some moral responsibility to it because other wise she wouldn't have requested her friends delete the emails. I'm not saying that her personal life should be shared with the world but its a school district and the press usually finds out. Take this as a lesson: Every thing that you put online is never private. It can always be found.

BootleggerRed

[quote]Kristina said: "I know a lot more employers who would have handled the situation in a more discreet and respectful fashion to avoid calling unneeded attention to the workplace. "[/quote]

If I recall, it was this teacher's supporters that first brought this to the attention of the media at a spring board meeting. Now they don't like what they hear and they want it quiet? You can't have it both ways...

Not For Nothing

I agree with you lake_girl. This teacher had no problem sharing her personal life on taxpayer time, using a taxpayer owned computer, while in a classroom full of students she was supposed to be teaching. "She sent 3,811 e-mails over 169 class days." If she also did it using her chipfalls.k12 email addy those emails were no longer personal or private.

Can you imagine if any of us sent 3,811 personal emails during 169 works days using our employer's computer?

Workingclass

To all of the "know everything but the truth" people, maybe you should ask why she was on a PRESCRIPTION pain killer and muscle relaxant...maybe her doctor PRESCRIBED them. As for her personal e-mails being ransacked by the school district and gone thru with a fine tooth comb, sounds like a witch hunt to me which brings me to another point...The Herald seems to have alot of information on this case...makes me wonder where they got it all from??? Which CFSD teacher is next?

BootleggerRed

Right. Lots of doctors advise "taking a nibble of your magic relaxing potion every 3 hours..."

This Guy

[quote]mncst1 said: "This is, and always has been, a witch hunt of epic proportions brought upon by a an insecure little man and his scared little lackeys."[/quote]

A witch hunt? If it was, it seems like (for once) it was a successful one...

This Guy

[quote]Hillcrest Parent said: "My daughter was very shy and she gave her confidence to speak her mind, learn and grow! She made learning FUN!"[/quote]

Maybe your daughter was passed one of those anti-anxiety pills...I withdraw the statement.


Not For Nothing

Ransacked her personal emails? If she used a school district computer and a school district email to send her personal crap, she's too stupid to be in the classroom.

soulpatchesdontmakeyoutall

Emails are two-way communication! Where is the investigation of the recipients of these emails?? Surely SOMEONE was responding to the emails. CFSD should be ASHAMED of themselves. A 7 month investigation about emails?? What an absolute waste of tens of thousands of dollars of tax payers money! You can not tell us that there was not a better and faster way of dealing with this. All state employeees should be nervous..your emails could be the next "big" investigation. What a joke.

Workingclass

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." There is a whole pile of boulders here.

responder

Be careful what you wish for.

How many of us have sent a personal email from work?
How many of us have called our boss an idiot?
How many of us have called our coworkers lazy and worthless?
How many of us have said at the end of the day, man, I need a drink?
How many of us have yelled at or smacked our children in frustration?

Should we all get fired for wasting company money?
Are we unfit parents?

Please don't respond that "it's not the same", I know that.

This teacher did do wrong.

Workingclass

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." There is a big pile of boulders here.
The report says her "Texting" was also looked at...perhaps on a cell phone or blackberry...sounds pretty personal to me. And why was the principal suddenly curious enough to look at her e-mail account and how did he get copies??? Inside job perhaps. We'll never know. All I can say is what's next, wire taps. I'm still suprised at the detail and length that the paper has gone thru in reporting this!

mncst1

Hey, Herald Telegram, ever hear of HIPAA? Your crack team of hard-hitting "journalists" might want to check into it before printing a person's prescription in the paper.

nss91

I think we should be asking our 5th graders if they enjoyed their teacher. Perhaps we should also ask the 4th graders who they would like for a teacher next year. My son was very disappointed when he didn't get Ms. Mac for 5th grade. Children do not lie and are our best investigators. Its time to listen to them instead of our overgrown biased blinded opinions!

SandyB

[quote]>How many of us have yelled at or smacked our children in frustration? [quote}

She hit the students too?

warrior

agreed ns....ask the children...it is they who have had to bear the brunt of this. The children and parents were lied to, information was withheld, again NIGHTMARE. It COULD have been handled better. I agree waste of money...my child was NEVER in any danger. Sandy B. no hitting was involved at any time. I can assure you the children were safe at school.It is an unfortunate event that affected a lot of people. Someone should ask the kids in her class the things they were told by administration

ththth

[quote]lake_girl said: Even as a student studying elementary ed "[/quote]

You are a STUDENT of elementary education. How much real life teaching experience do you have? Are you claiming that teachers are not allowed to 1. have a social life 2. Drink alcohol on their own time 3. Be prescribed medication by a trained professional?

ththth

[quote] I work with kids, too, and have never once thought of self prescribing medications to get through the day. "[/quote]

Yes, maybe you work with kids. But did you have your husband die unexpectedly when you were in your late 30s? Leaving you with four children under the age of 10 to take care of? Did you work two jobs to support your 4 children? Perhaps after enduring all of that being PRESCRIBED medication should not be something to be publicly vilified for.

aanngh

[quote]ththth said: "Yes, maybe you work with kids. But did you have your husband die unexpectedly when you were in your late 30s? Leaving you with four children under the age of 10 to take care of? Did you work two jobs to support your 4 children? Perhaps after enduring all of that being PRESCRIBED medication should not be something to be publicly vilified for."[/quote]

ha! you have NO idea what i've gone through in my thirties. i've never acted so stupidly over email, work or personal

youareallridiculous

[quote]SandyB said: ">How many of us have yelled at or smacked our children in frustration? [quote}She hit the students too? "[/quote]

I am beginning to think these people would be able to look past that, too.

Jody Thompson

While I haven't talked to Beth since I moved (don't miss CF) I did know her, I saw her work with children far too many times to count. She was a committed girl scout leader, a dedicated and active parent etc.
SCARY?
Please.
In light of not only the Beth that I knew, but also re: normal standards of libel, slander, etc most newspapers would have deleted the majority of these remarks. Chippewa is a small town, you can all easily meet and trash Beth someplace private. This is not "discussion".

soulpatchesdontmakeyoutall

Hooray for "warrior","nss91" and jody t! Scarey? Hardly. This is a teacher who was nominated BY HER 5TH GRADE CLASS for the WEAU Sunshine Award because of what a wonderful teacher she is.

ththth

[quote]aanngh said: "ha! you have NO idea what i've gone through in my thirties. i've never acted so stupidly over email, work or personal"[/quote]

What? You have never discussed your social and private life to friends via email?

And yes, I have no idea what you have gone through because your employer did not release personal emails to the local newspaper.

ththth

[quote]youareallridiculous said: "I am beginning to think these people would be able to look past that, too."[/quote]

Mrs. McElhenny never hit, touched or harmed any child in any way. Her fault was sending personal emails using the school server, thinking that after 14 years of dedicated service, she could trust her employers (principal) to respect her privacy.

lake_girl

Dear ththth... Even though I am a "student" I have worked in many schools and second have a second job certified to teach children. YES I drink, YES I have a social life, and YES I take medicine if my doctor prescribes it. Do I do or talk about any of this when I am being paid working with children, even if it is to my co-workers... NO. She got done working at 2:30, she has weekends off, and a three month summer vacation. I would say there was plenty of unpaid time she could have used to email

conceredcitizen

When education is this area being over budgets and cutting programs, it seems to me an investigation from april to july would be pretty costly? and a complete waste of taxpayers money for administration to go after one teacher. also what gives him the right to go through personal emails with out her knowing?
you wonder why she's on all this medication, maybe because of the work environment, always under fire?

ththth

Dear Lake Girl:

By saying that a teacher is done with work at 2:30 and has weekends/summers off, shows that you have never taught in a school district before or you are just a lazy teacher. A teacher's job goes behind just the regular teaching hours

After working 14 years in the district are you surprised that Mrs McElhenny's close friends are her colleagues and that she likes to communicate with her close friends about her personal life?

oh my

Wow! There are a lot of people out there just speaking with no background. I PERSONALLY know Mrs. Mac, and she does want what is best for her students, but not a good teacher. However, many of you have NEVER worked with her. She is vulgar around kids, she does make snide remarks about everyone. Most importantly, she was warned MANY times by the union to stop her computer usage (inappropriate emails). So, people were looking out for her. She needed help and was given many times advise and support

oh my

Each year we sign contracts stating what is appropriate use of the computer and what is "cause for dismissal." I feel for Mrs. Mac, but she violated tax payers money, fraud! She also sacrificed SO MANY INSTRUCTIONAL HOURS! Now that is SAD!

responder

Be careful what you wish for-Part 2

If teachers are going to be afraid to do any personal things at any time during the school day, they may STOP doing school things on their personal time-unless they are paid for it. I know teachers who grade papers, do after school events, prepare for classes, phone parents, all on their own time.

If they stop, you can bet test scores and student education will go down. If we had to pay overtime, our taxes will go up.

There's more than one issue here.

aanngh

[quote]ththth said: "And yes, I have no idea what you have gone through because your employer did not release personal emails to the local newspaper."[/quote]

ththth, get over it. she acted stupidly on her WORK email. lockers aren't kids' private property, and neither is her school email. you have no idea who other people on here are or what they've been through. do not assume we've all done what she did but just didn't get caught. give me a break.

slappy

Where to start?...
-No one "snooped" in her email. ANYTHING anyone does at work, no matter where they work is COMPANY property and they can look/do with as they please.
-This woman is not Charles Manson, but she is also FAR from Mother Theresa as some of you would make her out to be.
She screwed up..BADLY...and yes, she SHOULD be held to a higher standard than others WHILE SHE IS AT WORK. No one cares if she drinks, smokes, takes "prescription" drugs-OUTSIDE OF WORK. She screwed up, get over it.

ththth

[quote]aanngh said: "ththth, get over it. she acted stupidly on her WORK email.."[/quote]

Did I ever claim that she did not act stupidly on her work email? Should everyone who uses their work email during working hours have there private life posted in the town newspaper, including their private medical history and personal life? Should people who use their email during working hours be publicly flogged or should it have been handled in a different, more professional manner?

ththth

[quote]slappy said: be.She screwed up..BADLY...and yes, she SHOULD be held to a higher standard than others WHILE SHE IS AT WORK. No one cares if she drinks, smokes, takes "prescription" drugs-OUTSIDE OF WORK. She screwed up, get over it."[/quote]

So you think that the way that her screw up was handled was the right way? Everyone who has a problem with their boss should have their medical history published in two local newspapers?

Wee-Willy

Me thinks some of you protest too much to be even remotely rational. Do you honestly believe this just started this year? This woman has been there for 14 years and being a "problem" just began recently? 22 employees were questioned. If this was a "set-up", there is no way you can get 22 people to agree on lunch, let alone their opinions/observations of a fellow employee. I think the principal and administration should be commended on trying to keep their "house in order".

slappy

ththth.......
Maybe you should stick to the facts.....where is her "medical history"?
YES....I THINK IT WAS HANDLED THE RIGHT WAY....the only problem I have with it is it took TOO LONG. There seems to be NO gray area here. Read the article, lose the bias. She was given ample opportunity to keep this quiet...she chose not to. Now you and a few others are blinded by what I can only assume is friendship. I understand sticking up for a friend, but lets be rational here.

This Guy

[quote]soulpatchesdontmakeyoutall said: "Scarey? Hardly. This is a teacher who was nominated BY HER 5TH GRADE CLASS for the WEAU Sunshine Award because of what a wonderful teacher she is. "[/quote]

There is more to her job than teaching. You also have to be a colleague, as well. Her colleagues went on record to say they felt threatened by her. They made formal complaints.

Yes, the students liked her. 5 graders also like Miley Cyrus. Take their opinions with a grain of salt.

This Guy

If you are using a work email and a work computer, consider any privacy gone. It should be a good wake up call to everyone, but it doesn't change that what was done was wrong.

chipplady

It still remains her fault that it got to the point that it was published in the paper! It becomes a matter of public record!!! Did you read the article? It shouldn't have come as a surprise to her that this could happen, she was warned by her union. No email ANYWHERE is private, it is on the hard drive of your computer and that of the person who received it. And yes, the people who got those emails only received them, didn't necessarily want them or replied to them in a reciprocal manner.

Alan_Shore

Could someone please point out for me where Privacy is a "right" regarding emails on the school system-isn't privcy waived by signature.
Techniclly- Everything you say OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOME you are lawfully responsible for.
and .. To shame the school District- Shame on them for NOT HAVING a person reviewing emails everyday.

IF the children who use this system are subject to complete review - for the very SAME reason SO ARE THE STAFF USERS.

This Guy

[quote]ththth said: "Should everyone who uses their work email during working hours have there private life posted in the town newspaper, including their private medical history and personal life?"[/quote]


As soon as you email anything regarding your private medical history and personal life, it's no longer private. The recipient of that email can have that information forever.

wiggety wiggety wack

Alan_Shore: To shame the school District- Shame on them for NOT HAVING a person reviewing emails everyday.

Are you kidding?!? Schools can't get referendums passed to update equipment or fix the roof. Imagine the UPROAR over hiring a full-time person to monitor email.

Merlin

This is obviously a very emotional issue for people. But please don't lose site of a few things: When you are at work, you have no expectation of privacy, especially when it comes to using company owed equipment. Maybe the things she said weren't all that dismilar from what any of us would do on our own time with email and texts - that isn't the point - this was done at WORK on work time. Children WERE affected as some posters pointed out their own children's reactions to her behavior

Cont'd

Merlin

So don't for a second believe that these were the ONLY children affects - kids see more than you think.

Finally, this is a school teacher and they are held to a higher standard.

People make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes cost you your job. Doing personal business while you are being paid by an employer is a no-no and that is enough to get anyone fired, let alone the other stuff.

Employers are paying you to do a job and if you do not do that job, expect to not have one.

ChipGrad

Merlin- I know I don't always agree with your opinions, but you are absolutely correct on this one (in my opinion)! There is an obvious pattern of bad behavior and it did not look like the accused was taking steps to correct them. Good for the School district for doing what they had to do.

With her resigning, will this go on her record as she tries to find employment elsewhere? Is she going to try to get the help she needs?

cfalumni

I think that the school district made the best decision for the children that go to school there, and with the information given I also really feel that Ms. McElhenny needs help. We need to remember that we obviously don't know all the details (the media does not share everything or know everything). If even a fragment of what the media has let us know is true, she needs some counseling. I think that CFSD did what was right under the circumstances and I also hope she gets better.

ECresident

VERY well put Merlin! It should also be VERY interesting to read tomorrows Newspaper for further information by the teacher herself. You can almost bet there are more bad apples which in time, will be weeded out. Didnt the Administrator give us that impression? Its sad the kids that thought so much of her have lost a very good teacher. On the other hand, she royally screwed up thinking her emailings wouldnt get read by anyone. MANY business' monitor time spent on computers, and discipline/fire.

i_hate_bees

lawsuit? sure the numbers are huge-nearly 4,000, but thats just a part of the problem. besides that, she resigned, she wasn't fired. there looks to be a few other issues here, drug and alcohol use, discussions of sexual encounters, demeaning language to/about students, parents and other staff. lets not forget the hostile work environment and last but not least, the misuse of sick time and the bragging about it in said emails. let her get on with her life and let the school get back to our kids.

LetsGetReal

How do you claim that she created a hostile work environment when the emails were never sent to the other teachers and staff? Was the school district looking for a reason? And why didn't the union come to her defense? It seems that we're not hearing the whole story..

Alan_Shore

letsgetreal- after reviewing the emails sent through a computer system that authorized such review- The school asked the persons who received "said emails"- these persons responded affirmatively to the question thereby creating an allegation of a hostile workplace.

It is not up to US the citizen- BUT the person who received the emails. Technically- there is NO privacy expectation. ND i am sure the Union told her- we can save your job buyt why would you want it.

she resigned rather than fight

ththth

You are all basing your opinions on a poorly written, one sided newspaper article. A competent journalist would examine all sides of the story, and move beyond petty slander, to a story that has depth and that will add value and perspective to a community.

Among many other things, is it pointed out in the article that the person who filed the hostile work environment charge is currently under investigation by the district, as is 14 other teachers at Hillcrest Elementary School?

Not For Nothing

ththth,

Perhaps you could add value and perspective to your post by citing where in the article, which simply restates what is in a rather exhaustive report, there is petty slander? Please also cite where in the article it says that 14 other teachers are being investigated.

How does one add perspective to a community, exactly?

Alan_Shore

ththth- being UNABLE to substantiate your claims- your implication regarding the "Victim/complainant" is hereby dismissed.

However, Part of me wonders how long you have been friends with the Accused

Is there a limit as to what you will claim to support your friend?

If your friend did nothing wrong-
Why then not fight the preposterous Allegations-
Is it your contention that all the teachers are of the School there- are cut from this same Fabric?

Could attacking the Author change the facts

soulpatchesdontmakeyoutall

Hey Alan Shore, I think you need to go back to 5th grade where you may learn the rules of capitalization. Just a Suggestion...I mean...suggestion.

timbertom

She withdrew her lawsuit. Not only is she a pathetic excuse for a teacher, she is a loser who abuses alcohol and drugs and then calls in sick on the tax payer dime. Now she wants to complain that her "employer" (we the taxpayer) is allowed to read emails that only were meant for a "few" readers. How stupid are you? Surprised the worthless teachers union is admitting that she needs to be fired.

Mmmm_beer

Hey "soulpatches"...grammar lessons from someone who thinks a Sunshine award justifies a person's actions? Someone better notify the Nobel committee, their award has been surpassed!

wilburn

[quote]timbertom said: "Now she wants to complain that her "employer" (we the taxpayer) is allowed to read emails that only were meant for a "few" readers. How stupid are you? Surprised the worthless teachers union is admitting that she needs to be fired."[/quote]
Why surprised? The other teachers were as glad as every one else to see her take a hike. Give the union some credit, they could have made it tough on the district to fire her.

Chippewa_001

I personally had Beth Mac for a librarian for 4 years, back at Hillcrest. She was psycho. She taught the whole library the lyrics to the morbid song of "Earl Had to Die" to her 1st graders when she should have been teaching us about books. I still know the lyrics. It is terrible, and I will always remember that Ms. Mac taught me it. I clearly remember her debating what the real lyrics were to Strawberry Jam and Buttered Ham but it was really supposed to be Tennesee Ham and Strawberry Jam. Waste!

gbjordan

My wife taught in a small school district on the east side of the state. When she first started, she got multiple emails from other staff talking about choir practice after school. It took her a couple weeks to realize that 'choir practice' was when the teachers got together at the local tavern after work. With the abuse that many teachers take from parents and students, you don't think they talk about said parents and students to the other teachers? Its a catty profession and this proves it

gbjordan

My wife was a person that wanted to be a teacher since she was 10 years old. She was immediately turned off because the teachers in her district acted like the high school students they taught. Even without knowing the details, this seems to be the case here on all sides. If the district digs, I bet they find multiple teachers sending similar emails about parents, students, each other, and the administration. Watch your backs!

chippewaresident

I thought she was going to be posting her side of things in the paper yesterday? Is that going to happen?

soulpatchesdontmakeyoutall

[quote]chippewaresident said: "I thought she was going to be posting her side of things in the paper yesterday? Is that going to happen?"[/quote]

A self-paid advertisement was taken out in the Eau Claire LeaderTelegram newspaper. Not sure about the Chippewa paper.

[quote]soulpatchesdontmakeyoutall said: "A self-paid advertisement was taken out in the Eau Claire LeaderTelegram newspaper. Not sure about the Chippewa paper."[/quote]

McElhenny's paid ad ran in the Wednesday, Sept. 1 issue of The Herald.

-Liz Hochstedler, Moderator

happygolucky

1. What people do on their own time is their own business. 2. She should have used her own computer to send email. Teachers should be smart enough to know this. 3. Every who says she is immature and catty in here are doing the same thing she did on the job. 4. She didn't sound like a good example for the kids while at work. It shouldn't have taken them this long to fire her for this very reason (damn teacher's unions). 5. Dixie Chicks stink.

mncst1

A few Fridays ago at the Fill In Station I was seated next to a group of people whom, after overhearing their loud conversations, I discovered were teachers from Hillcrest.Knowing the Mcelhenny situation from the paper I listened a little more closely than I would have ordinarily done.This group of teachers were absolutely BASHING other Hillcrest teachers.I won't name names...but they did.Is the school district okay with badmouthing other teachers as long as it is verbal and not in email form???

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