Sick Teacher with Breast Cancer Must Pay for Her Own Substitute

Jaimie-lee Prince
May 10, 2019
09:19 P.M.
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A teacher in San Francisco will have to pay for her own substitute teacher as she battles cancer because of a law put in place nearly 50 years ago. 


One teacher from Glen Park Elementary school is facing an upward battle as she fights breast cancer. The challenge was made worse when she took sick leave and realized she was forced to pay for her own substitute. 

The beloved teacher's name was kept hidden for privacy reasons, but a quick perusal of state laws confirmed the eye-opening news. Parents were angry on behalf of the second-grade educator. 

Amanda Fried, who has two daughters in school, said: 

“Parents were outraged and incredulous — like, this can’t be.There must be some mistake.”


Another parent, Elia Hernandez, called the situation "crazy," reported ABC 7.  And while most would agree, one person in authority has made it clear that the law is not exclusive to San Francisco. 

School district spokeswoman Laura Dudnick explained to Buzzfeed news that "this is not unique to San Francisco. This is not a district-only rule." 

The 1976 law outlines that teachers on extended sick leave will receive their salary minus substitute teacher expenses. Subs can cost between $175 and $246 per day.

As per the law, teachers are allowed to take 10 sick days on an annual basis. Thereafter, they are allotted a further 100 sick days, which is the period in which the cost of a sub will be removed from their pay. 


Following that, teachers are able to take more days off from a sick leave bank - a collection of days donated by teachers throughout the state district. Up to 85 days can be allotted. 

Parents and teachers alike were empathetic towards the employee whom one parent, Abby Hipps, referred to as "one of the best teachers [at the school]" when speaking to KABC. 

A fellow educator also shared how she's now worried about it happening to her and said she would have to "plan accordingly." Reflecting the opinion of many, she called the event unfair. 

Other teachers were less outraged,  grimly accepting the reality of the situation according to Fried. She said,  "The teachers have sort of shrugged — like, yes, that’s how it is. That makes it even more sad, because teachers expect to be treated poorly.”


Thankfully, the community banded together and started a GoFundMe page which aimed for $10,000 to assist the affected teacher. The page reportedly noted how she handwrote notes to her students thanking them for support. 

The page raised over $13,000, which should be enough for the substitute teacher costs and some medical expenses, but people are still voicing their amazement at the implementation of the bizarre law. 

Back in December, another teacher with cancer received assistance for her medical bills from just one student who was eager to help. Sue Kohues was battling Stage 4 endometrial cancer at the time. 

One of her students, 11-year-old Carter Haslag, was able to raise around $4,500  by making use of his auctioning talent. He sold a range of items from baked good to woodwork. 

Haslag said he did it because of his love for his teacher. He inspired other members of the community to chip in and help Kohues, who was extremely grateful for everything.