Marlene Brod has been teaching for over three decades. She loves being in the classroom so much that after she retired, she went back to work when she thought her skills could help the little ones in her community. Parents and former students love her and she has an exemplary employment record.
Marlene has been working safely for the last 20 months of the pandemic in the classroom without a vaccine or rapid testing requirement. She followed the rules, made the kids social distance, and everyone hyper-sanitized and wore masks daily.
She did what she was asked, until the school board asked too much of her.
The Black Gold School Division mandated rapid antigen testing or proof of vaccination for staff and teachers at schools. Marlene stood on principle and refused to do either and was ultimately unceremoniously fired a week ago after showing up at school ready to teach.
The gut-wrenching moment Marlene walked out the school doors for the last time was recorded by a parent, Jodi Schultz.
I met with Marlene at Jodi's home in Calmar, Alberta to get her side of the story. I wanted to know why she was willing to end her beloved teaching career on principle after more than 30 years.
I also reached out to the Black Gold School Division, and the superintendent, Bill Romanchuk, tells me that Marlene was one of nine staff in the system placed on unpaid leave for failing to submit to constant testing or a violation of medical privacy.
Romanchuk insists the board's policy is in line with the advice of the chief medical officer and is the way the board can support the health and safety of staff and students. Ironically, Romanchuk admits that there were no school closures this year during the part of the school year when no such mandatory vaccination and testing existed.
Marlene is confident she will land on her feet and is considering heading-up a learning pod for parents who are homeschooling. Wherever she lands, it's certain those students will benefit from the years of experience the board was willing to throw away.
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