Teacher fired for saving kids?

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A daycare owner who fired a teacher for leaving children unsupervised to deal with a fire is unapologetic.

Daycare teacher Michelle Hammack’s young charges were napping inside the Little Temples Childcare when she smelled smoke. Hammack left the room to check the source and discovered an oven fire.

"I just leaned over and peeked around and there was a fire in the oven," she told a local news statio. "I ran in there and opened it to try to put it out, and the fire alarm started going off."

She quickly went back to the classroom, woke the children and escorted them outside. She ran back inside to ensure no one was left in the building and decided to use the fire extinguisher on the oven fire to try to prevent it from spreading. Hammack succeeded in putting it out before the fire service arrived.

Believing she had done well to protect the children and building from harm, Hammack was shocked when she was fired the next day by the daycare owner Olga Rozhaov, who stands by her decision.

"I fired her only because she left her room," Rozhaov said. "Even though children are sleeping, the teachers are supposed to be there."

Rozhaov said protocol superseded Hammack's concerns.

"It's not acceptable, and if anybody else does the same thing, I will fire again," Rozhaov said. "I will fire them. No question."

  • Diane J. on 2013-07-24 10:05:47 AM

    Misleading headline - she was not fired for saving them, she was fired for leaving them unattended. Saving them entailed escorting them out of the building and supervising them until safe to go back in or release them to their parents or guardians.

  • Lissa O. on 2013-07-24 12:06:55 PM

    If this happened just as the teacher said..its truly ridiculous that the owner would fire her. Its laughable to expect 'obedient' employees who will stay at their post and do nothing more...even if it means the building they and small children are in is about to go up in smoke. Maybe the owner should look into hiring some robots next time.

  • Ashley on 2013-07-25 8:37:25 AM

    I would have more questions about this situation. Did they have a safety policy in place regarding fires in the centre? If no, then perhaps the firing is a little extreme given the lack of instruction or training on what is to be done. However, if there is a policy and that policy is to escort the children from the building and continue to supervise them until firefighters arrive or parents pick them up, then given the gravity of the situation, perhaps termination is appropriate.

  • Liana on 2013-07-25 10:16:00 AM

    I would support the teacher, and fire the manager for not providing adequate training under such circumstances.

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