The Town Leper- My CASA Experience

Published on 9 July 2022 at 22:52
Bullying needs to stop at every age and everywhere

My time line is going to go backwards. Most people will tell a story from the beginning. I like to know the end to find out how it all got there. I won't call out names or throw anyone under the bus. So names that are given at times are made up names for my real life events.

In 2018-19 everything started going crazy around me. Bad news, bad karma, bad outcomes. Just everything bad. At least that was the feeling I had.

First event: My daughter comes home from school and first thing she says, with much excitement because it was the biggest news yet this year for her, "Mom, a teacher got fired today." I asked why? She says "For inappropriate relations and texting of female students. They were freshman. At the end of last year one of my friends told me she tried to report him but she was told there was nothing to report. Its the end of the year." She also was sent some texts between a girl and this teacher. Apparently a lot of kids were sent these texts also. I get on Facebook and I already see this situation being discussed. My daughter had this teacher this year for one of her classes so of course, like any normal concerned parent, I question her. I also commented on Facebook and I said, "My daughter came home and told me...", Now I did not say this is what happened or this person told this person, I said, " My daughter came home and told me....". Now everyone knows how to play telephone. Facebook posting is the same way. My comment got turned into my daughter telling me, to I seemed to know facts. I even corrected a few people that were misinterpreting what I said. Next morning I'm doing dishes and I get a call from the police department asking me if I could come up and talk to one of the detectives. I said sure but what about? He said, the teacher case. I said OK. I don't know much but alright. I'll be right there. I go in and he advises me we were being recorded and we sit down and he pulls up Facebook. He wants to know how I know this and that. Are you kidding me? I told him, "As you can see, My daughter came home and told me....". He goes on to ask the validity of what my daughter came home and told me and how other people were misinterpreting it. I asked him, Did you go back and see where I corrected them? He said, where? Then he sees it and says Oh, well.. I said as you can see, I said my daughter had received texts from someone but I didn't say who or what they said. There were others on that same thread that said their kid had also gotten them and started quoting some of them. He reply's, "What makes you think I'm not talking to them also." He also said, "Sarah, you know better, your a CASA." I again said, "I didn't give any kind of information about anything just merely commented and said, "my daughter came home and said a teacher got fired today and she had him also for one of her classes and she had received texts from this group text also. No detailed information.

  I left there, deleted everything pertaining to that subject that I wrote on Facebook and wrote an apology to any one I might have offended. Every comment I got was not understanding what I was talking about.

Two days later, I get a letter from the CASA director saying they had to let me go due to policy violation. This detective took it upon himself to go tell on me, for something that actually, according to the handbook, was NOT a violation and got me released. Where was it his duty? I personally know the ones who were quoting the texts for everyone to see. I asked these people. They were never questioned. I didn't even get the respect of a phone call. According to the handbook I was to be called in, have a face to face, investigate, and then if I were found in violation they would call me in again to be let go AND get a letter. All I got was the letter.

Two-three years have passed and here is the update:

I emailed the director last weekend asking if I could be reinstated because I felt I was unjustly let go. I explained the situation because it happened with the old director and I was told by the judge I could still go to another county and be a CASA. I feel if I had done something so wrong then I would not be allowed to be a CASA anywhere but I decided I didn't want the county where I live and have grown up in to win and decide my fate because of something I didn't do. I have not gotten a response. I let a week go thinking, I know they are very busy so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that I'm not being ignored but I sent another email just asking for a response on whether my email was received or not. Still nothing. I feel so let down and judged and it is beyond my mind as to why I can't even get a response.

A month later I finally get a response from the new director. She said

"I received correspondence from the State CASA office, stating that you were seeking an explanation for your dismissal. I’m sorry that you were not afforded the opportunity to speak with *** regarding your grievances in person. After reviewing what documents we have and the video footage of your interview with ******* regarding the matter, we feel that it was a rightful dismissal. Do I feel that your dismissal was completely handled like it should have been? No. I believe you should’ve been explained to in person the reasons why J*** and Judge ***** let you go. It is a very unfortunate situation because we all make mistakes and you were a very good CASA volunteer, but some of the mistakes we make cannot go without consequences for our actions.

After reviewing a copy of the Policy and Procedure handbook that you would’ve received and signed to when you became a CASA; the reasons we believe it was a rightful dismissal are listed below. I have attached a copy of that handbook for you to review. Please feel free to reply to this email or call me at the office if you would like to discuss further. Thank you!"

Page 2: IN state CASA office Code of ethics; #5. CASA programs and volunteers will avoid any action that could adversely affect the confidence of the public in the integrity of the CASA concept.

Page 14: General Policy: As a volunteer, you represent CASA and what you do reflects on the organization. Always conduct yourself in a professional way that reflects favorably on CASA and comply with CASA policies and procedures.

Page 20-21: Please Review Gibson County CASA Online Communication and Social Media guidelines for Staff and Volunteers. The situation violates several points of the social media policy.

Page 18-19: Dismissal of a volunteer would occur only after a thorough investigation of the alleged problems by the CASA Director. (Investigation completed) The Director would interview the CASA volunteer and any other necessary party about the alleged problems, and discuss the decision with the circuit court Judge. (completed, excluding personal face to face interview with CASA volunteer. Viewed Princeton Police Dept. interview with Detective **** **** regarding problem) The CASA Director would also personally notify the volunteer about the decision to dismiss them from the program. (Letter of dismissal was sent by mail and received. Copy retained in personnel file.)

I responded:

" Thank you for your response. This is all very sad to hear because I did read through the handbook and did not see anything I did that went against any policies. Everything I typed was very generic in my comment on fb as well as my interview with ********. He asked me questions I had no answers to so I don't know what was in the interview that violated anything. I even deleted my comment that contained no kind of information that was defaming anyone and offered an apology if anyone was offended by my comment and I had many tell me they didn't know what I was talking about but I was trying to be as professional as I could about it. If I violated anything then why was I given permission to be a CASA elsewhere? This is all very unfortunate but as much as I am sad that I can't be of service anymore, it's the kids in this community who are the one's suffering more than myself." 

Her response:

"In the interview, ******** he clearly states that your actions of making public accusatory comments were borderline committing a crime by interfering with a criminal investigation regarding a sexual crime/crimes involving children. These actions of course go against our Code of Ethics as CASA volunteers. I’m sorry, I am unsure what you mean by given permission to be a CASA elsewhere?"

I responded:

 "But that's the thing, I didn't. I still have the comment I made on fb and I did not make any accusations. The comment below mine did and gave names and exact comments of a group text between the girl and the teacher. I did not. And what I mean is, I emailed Judge ***** and asked him if I was still able to be a CASA somewhere else and he told me yes. I am the only one he threatened like that and I am the only one who made the most vague comment. I asked him about the other ones that were giving actual names and he said, "Who says I'm not questioning them?". But you should have seen that in the interview that you said you watched. The other person was ******** who was going into detail and I asked her if she ever got questioned and she said no. This all happened when they found out who I was dating. It was not a coincidence."

I received no more responses!


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