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New Hampshire teacher drove pregnant student to get an abortion

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The Merrimack County Courthouse in Concord, New Hampshire. / Credit: Warren LeMay from Covington, Kentucky, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

CNA Staff, Jun 29, 2024 / 07:00 am (CNA).

A private school teacher in New Hampshire faked an illness so she could drive a student to get an abortion without the knowledge of the student’s parents.

The student was at least 18 years old at the time and therefore under state law did not need the permission of her parents, the teacher says in a lawsuit filed this week seeking to get back her teaching license, which she says the state revoked earlier this month.

The pregnant student didn’t want to tell her parents and didn’t have a ride to the abortion facility, and the abortion could be performed only on a Friday, which was a school day, the teacher says in the complaint.

So the teacher faked food poisoning in order to leave school and drive the student to get the abortion, according to a redacted report by the New Hampshire Department of Education published by The Boston Globe.

The teacher, identified in court papers as Jane Doe, says that she did not try to persuade the student, identified in court papers as Student A, to have an abortion, which she says occurred during the fall of 2023.

“It was very important to Doe that she provided Student A with access to information and resources to make an informed decision but did not influence Student A’s decision. Doe wanted Student A to be empowered to make an informed decision about her own health care and expressed to Student A that she would do what she could to support her irrespective of her decision,” the teacher’s lawyers wrote in the complaint, filed Monday, June 24, in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord, the state capital.

The school fired her the following week after school officials learned what happened.

The teacher says state education officials investigated and asked her to give up her teaching credentials but never held a hearing before she was informed on June 17 that her teaching credential had been revoked.

In addition, the teacher says the state’s education commissioner, Frank Edelblut, a Republican, published an article in April referring to her that she describes as misleading.

“How should the department respond,” Edelblut wrote in the article, before describing several instances of what he considered poor behavior by educators, including:  “… when, allegedly, an educator lies by calling in sick so they can take a student — without parental knowledge — to get an abortion.”

The teacher’s complaint argues that Edelblut’s article implies that she “helped a minor circumvent New Hampshire’s parental notification law,” even though, she says, Edelblut “knew that Student A was an adult months before Edelblut made the statement.”

A spokesman for the state Department of Education contacted by CNA on Friday referred questions to a spokesman for the New Hampshire attorney general’s office.

“We will review the complaint and respond as appropriate in due course. We would not comment on an open agency matter or pending litigation,” a spokesman for the attorney general’s office told CNA on Friday.

The teacher is currently working as a teacher and plans to teach this summer, according to the complaint.

The state’s education agency has scheduled a pre-hearing conference concerning her teaching credential for July 16, according to the teacher’s complaint.

The Boston Globe reported Thursday that the teacher’s teaching credentials have been restored while the case is pending.


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