Teacher Page Garbee was placed on unpaid leave after she was sexually assaulted by the friend of a parent at a “Muffins For Moms” event on May 23 at Achievement Prep Academy public charter elementary school in Washington D.C.
A school surveillance video filmed the assault committed by Andrea Shantora Brown, which Garbee recalled to KRCR:
All of a sudden, I felt someone smacking my behind. I stood up, bewildered, looked over and I put out my hands. I’m not sure what I said. “No. Stop.”
But it was a moment of shock for me. Then, all of a sudden, there was a hand reaching underneath my skirt. As the woman said, I want to finger your [expletive].
Again, I started backing away. I said “no.” And then she made sort of a lunging motion at me and grabbed my breasts.”
Garbee said she wanted to return to work as long as Achievement Prep could increase school safety patrols:
What I tried to communicate with [Achievement Prep Academy] was, “I’m OK to return but I need something until an arrest is made. My safety and well-being has been threatened and I don’t feel safe.”
All of a sudden, automated messages from the HR system just started entering: unpaid day, unpaid day, unpaid day.
Garbee’s doctor said she should take a mental health leave; Garbee believed the school would offer her paid administrative leave.
Instead, Garbee was placed on unpaid leave against her wishes.
Achievement Prep Academy did not pay what Garbee estimated was $3,200, which she counted on for the final three weeks of the school year:
It was very hard for me. I never said goodbye to my kids. I’ve had some of these kids for three years. It’s really hard for me that I just disappeared from their lives.
Achievement Prep Academy refused to be interviewed and released a statement that dodged the pay issue:
Achievement Prep regrets that Ms. Garbee experienced such an offense on one of our campuses. None of us could have ever anticipated that an event that she herself so gracefully planned and led to honor the “moms” of our scholars, would end the way it did.
We truly hope Ms. Garbee continues to heal and receive the support she needs. Our goal is not to add to any stress or cause any additional stressors for Ms. Garbee.
Garbee has left teaching and entered law school.