There's almost no reason a day care teacher should ever leave a group of children unattended, even for a minute. Almost. Putting out a fire that's burning nearby in an attempt to save their lives, however, would be one obvious reason to do so ... or so one would think. When a Florida day care teacher did just that, though, she got fired.
Michelle Hammack was a teacher at Little Temples Childcare facility in Arlington, Florida. According to WTEV, last week the kids in her classroom were napping when she smelled smoke. She peeked her head around a corner into an adjacent room and saw burning chicken nuggets in the oven. So she did what we'd hope anyone who saw a fire, especially a fire near sleeping children, would do -- she ran to put it out.
When she opened the oven to try to do so, the fire alarm went off, so she says she ran back to her classroom, woke up the kids, and took them all outside. She went back inside to make sure there were no other children there and put out the fire in the oven. Shortly thereafter firefighters arrived.
Phew. You'd think she might deserve a thank-you, right? That's not what she got. Instead she got fired. The day care's owner, Olga Rozhaov, says she shouldn't have left the children no matter what. She told the station:
I fired her only because she left her room. Even though children are sleeping, the teachers are supposed to be there.
I would absolutely say the risk of leaving sleeping children unattended for a few minutes is trumped by a fire. Should she have evacuated the children first? Maybe, but then the fire could have grown. She acted on instinct, and I'd say her instincts were pretty good.
When I saw the headline, I thought there would be more to the story, but it seems pretty cut and dry. I don't understand the owner's rationale at all, but she's not backing down.
It's not acceptable, and if anybody else does the same thing, I will fire again. I will fire them. No question.
Ridiculous. If you think so too, you can sign a petition at Care2 "to right the wrong that was done to Michelle Hammack." It doesn't say how the wrong should be righted, but if it's getting her job back, I'm not sure I would want it with a boss like that.
Do you think this teacher was wrong for leaving her classroom like this?
Image via WTEV