When I read a story like this, my faith in college administrators diminishes.
According to the AJC story by Alexis Stevens, Sara Castle was thrown out of nursing school at Appalachian Technical College In Jasper in August 2007, just 13 weeks before graduating. Castle alleged that her expulsion came after she reported a slack instructor who was dismissing students from their clinic training early on a regular basis.
Appalachian Technical College fired the instructor, but Castle, 55, says she was then expelled for blowing the whistle.
A jury agreed Thursday and awarded her $450,000 in damages. Castle said she and other students would arrive for clinical training early in the morning. By 8 a.m., the instructor would dismiss students even though 740 hours of hands-on training are required for the degree.
It took the jury less than a hour to find for Castle and against the college. That means Georgia taxpayers are stuck paying the bill. (Even if there is insurance, the costs ultimately falls back on taxpayers.)
The story doesn’t get into whether there will be any repercussions to Appalachian Tech leadership. In fact, the state is considering an appeal of the decision, according to the story, although the rapid jury verdict indicates that Castle mounted a compelling case.
I called the attorney general’s office Friday as it represented the college in court to ask about its response to Castle’s allegations. In essence, the AG’s office says the trial was supposed to be limited to a due process issue and that’s what it went into court ready to address. “The state is looking at our options for how to proceed on this case because the admissible evidence does not support the jury verdict,” say AG spokesman Russ Willard.
So, why was Castle expelled? Willard says call the state Technical College System of Georgia to find out that information. I am doing so now and will let you know what folks there have to say about Castle’s expulsion.
(It’s almost 2 p.m. and no call back yet from the Technical College System. Its main PR guy is away, so someone else is supposed to call me back. I am leaving shortly for a family funeral so I may not get information on this until Monday.)