FARMINGTON — A district court hearing is set for Monday for a former Central Consolidated School District teacher who says she was denied a chance to defend herself after she did not allow a student to use the restroom during a school lockdown last year.
In January, the National Education Association of New Mexico, the Central Consolidated Educational Association and April Baisan filed a petition against CCSD and Superintendent Don Levinski asking that Baisan be allowed to have a discharge hearing before the school board.
District Judge Karen Townsend ordered a hearing on the petition for 8:30 a.m. Monday in the 11th District Court in Aztec.
Baisan was working as a science teacher at Shiprock High School but was placed on administrative leave after the incident.
The school was placed on a lockdown in October so local law enforcement officials could conduct an unannounced drug sweep that lasted more than an hour. The student could not hold it and urinated on herself in the classroom.
Townsend ruled on Jan. 30 that Baisan was entitled to a discharge hearing in front of the school board but court documents reveal a continuing disagreement between the employee union and Baisan and the school district.
Among the disagreements are details surrounding the series of events that occurred during the lockdown as well as when Baisan ended her employment with the school district.
According to the petition filed by the employee union and the teacher, Baisan was required by school policies during a lockdown to deny permission to use the restroom.
She "made all reasonable efforts to contact school administrators in an effort to determine whether it was safe to grant the student permission to leave the classroom. Despite her best efforts, she was unable to contact any school administrator," according to the documents.
The school district denies the allegations and says that the student made the request to use the restroom 20 minutes before the lockdown and throughout the lockdown.
"There was ample time before the drug search lockdown, which Ms. Baisan told the class was not a serious lockdown, and a transition period after the lockdown was announced during which Ms. Baisan could have permitted the student to use the bathroom," the school district's April 21 response states.
Another disagreement stems from when Baisan left the school district.
According to the petition filed by the employee union and Baisan, the district asked Baisan to sign a letter of resignation last November and the terms of the letter offered her paid administrative leave from Nov. 4 to Nov. 29 in exchange "for a full and complete release of all rights."
The school district maintains that Baisan remained on paid administrative leave from Oct. 30 until her effective resignation on Jan. 6 and the petition "reflect(s) inadmissible settlement negotiations," according to the school district's response.
The response also requests the district court dismiss the employee union and Baisan's petition with prejudice, which means she would not be allowed to reopen the case in the future.