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New Orleans Teacher Held Against Her Will by Admin, Calls 9-1-1

October 11, 2018

A (now-former) teacher at Mary D. Coghill Charter School in New Orleans decided to quit her job six weeks into the new school year. Around noon on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, this teacher tried to retrieve her belongings from her classroom and had planned upon her exit to formally tender her letter of resignation.

However, the school principal and several other school admin apparently prevented the teacher from leaving the school by somehow preventing her from exiting her classroom. The teacher offered to undergo a search so that admin could be assured that she was only taking her personal belongings. Still, the principal and at least one other person would not allow the teacher to exit.

So, she called 9-1-1 for assistance.

On October 10, 2018, Marta Jewson of New Orleans-based news source, The Lens, published the story. From her reporting:

A former teacher at a Gentilly Woods charter school told a 911 call-taker last month that her boss would not allow her to leave the school when she tried to resign, according to records obtained by The Lens.

On Sept. 26, the teacher at Mary D. Coghill Charter School called 911 after trying to resign because she was being held in her classroom by the principal, she told the emergency call-taker. The teacher requested that her name not be used in this story out of concern for her future job prospects.

“I came to get my stuff to resign and they’re refusing to let me out of the building with my things,” the teacher told the operator.

“I have the principal and a board member — or whoever he is — trying to stop me,” she said.

In a five-minute 911 recording The Lens obtained through a public records request, the teacher told the call-taker that she was trying to take her own supplies and materials from the Gentilly Woods elementary school and leave the building. The teacher’s name has been redacted in public records of the incident.

“Are you an ex-employee?” the call-taker asked.

“I’m leaving now. I resigned and I’m trying to get my things and leave,” she said. “And they’re blocking my door and telling me I cannot leave the school with my stuff.” …

At one point on the 911 call the teacher said, apparently to someone else in the room, “I’m not arguing with you. I just want to get my stuff and leave.”

During the 911 call, the employee said she was willing to let a security guard search her things, but that she wanted to leave with her own supplies.

“I told them she can search my stuff if she wants to,” she said. “I just want my stuff so I can leave their school. I was a teacher here. I’m unhappy. And I don’t want to work here anymore.”

On September 29, 2018, the former teacher emailed the school principal and several other school admin as follows:


After the traumatic experience endured at Mary Dora Coghill School on Wednesday, September 26, 2018, I am finally able to feel sale and relaxed enough to give you my official letter– the letter I intended to give to you by hand on my way out of Coghill after collecting my belongings on 9/25.

First, the situation at Coghill where you (7 or more people) held me in your building against my Will, refused to let me leave, and forced me to have to call 9.1-1 (Twice) to simply retrieve my own personal items, was unnecessary and uncalled for.

ANY worker at ANY job has the right to resign and peacefully collect their belongings without retaliation and confrontation from their supervisors and/or others.

Find enclosed my letter of resignation, which I would have presented to you then, if I had been given the safe opportunity to do so.

For more details, including a 5-minute audio file of the 9-1-1 call and related documents, click here.



Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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  1. Christine Langhoff permalink

    Just what did they envision would be the outcome of kidnapping? She’d continue to teach? This is cuckoo!

  2. Cynthia Rae Lewis permalink

    Why can’t ALL schools in ALL Parishes live up to the expectations of the kids now lucky enough to have a chance at a better education Via- more resources, higher trained teachers & co-staff workers, a safer & cared for environment??
    I feel this matter comes down to the PARENTS! If a child sees their Mother & Father volunteer & care for their Education, they will too.

    • Dienne permalink

      So it’s the parents’ fault that this teacher was falsely imprisoned and held against her will? I’m not following your “logic”….

  3. That poor teacher. I hope she finds a job she is very happy at. Coghill is definitely on the Wall of Shame and the Wall of Disgust. How dare they. I hope she presses charges.

    • Laura H. Chapman permalink

      Key word is: Mary D. Coghill CHARTER School. i think this would not happen in a public school or if so, the administrators would be the ones reprimanded.

  4. Reblogged this on David R. Taylor-Thoughts on Education and commented:

  5. Joseph Nashville permalink

    False imprisonment is a felony.

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