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Teacher gets $92,000 tax-funded settlement after telling children she would kill them with a robot

School teacher

(NaturalNews) A teacher who uttered questionable, violent slurs in the classroom has been let off the hook. The Oceanside Unified School District in San Diego County, California, received complaints from students in 2012 that their teacher threatened to have a robot shoot and kill them all.

Did the concerned students take the teacher way out of context or was the teacher way out of line for making such menacing statements?

In either event, the teacher was not fired; instead, she was allowed to resign and walk away with a controversial $92,000 tax-funded settlement over a year later. The school board said that a lengthy and costly state process for firing the teacher is what led to the settlement.

Educator's words chill students to the bone, bringing the district against her

The educator in question, Tuyet-Mai Thi Vo, spoke some chilling words. According to the district report, "Ms. Vo told her class that if robots were teachers, Ms. Vo would program the robot to shoot the students every time the students didn't pay attention, talked back, or even talked at all. Ms. Vo told her class she would program the robot to zap the students with a Taser if the students failed to complete homework assignments or arrived late to class. Ms. Vo told her class she would program the robot to kill all of the students."

Vo defended herself, bringing forth a positive recommendation letter from the District's superintendent Larry Perondi who, at the time, still believed that she was fit for the classroom. Perondi's recommendation letter praised Vo's "commitment to the academic achievement of students," applauding her expertise in science while commending her devotion to extracurricular activities.

However, the words that Vo spoke to her students left them chilled to the bone. According to the formal student complaint, one student wrote, "Me and some other classmates were in class and joking about a robot being a teacher/substitute and Mrs. Vo overheard us and mentioned something about programming a robot to kill us and while telling us, had a crazy look on her face. In a way, it did feel like a death threat."

In a phone interview, the 48-year-old Ms. Vo said, "That is not reflective of who I am. What the district claimed was alleged. Alleged means they are not true."

The threat occurred on January 11, 2012. After being reported, the district wrote that, on the following day, Vo "forcefully grabbed and ripped a student's shirt as he walked past her to his seat in the classroom."

In district filings, her students reported that, "Ms. Vo explained that she did not like teaching students with attitudes." More than 70 percent of her students in her five science classes were given a D or F grade after 12 weeks.

The district came against her, stating, "Ms. Vo's repeated improper and threatening interactions with students and staff and her willful failure to provide required educational instruction violates district rules and state education laws."

The once-supportive superintendent, Perondi, changed his mind about her, accusing Vo of jeopardizing "the safety and welfare of the district's staff and students by engaging in immoral conduct not befitting a teacher."

Educator walks away with $92,000 settlement anyway

From January 23, 2012, to June 30, 2013, Vo went on paid leave. When she returned after all that time, her resignation was sealed and a $92,000 settlement was waiting for her, including 18 more months of family health benefits.

District spokesman Steve Lombard explained why Ms. Vo got to walk away with the settlement: "From a district point of view, we are supposed to do what's in the best interest of kids. A decision had to be made and the district probably felt that this was the best decision of the two available, to make a settlement rather than go through a lengthy hearing and trial, the likelihood of which would have resulted in a far more costly expenditure."

Vo defended herself to the end: "No one forced the superintendent to sign, and they know that letter of recommendation is an affirmation that this whole thing was wrong and it's clear as a bell."

She now plans "to eventually move out of the classroom to administration where I can best support teachers and students and to serve the community the best way I can," she said.

Sources for this article include:


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