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Suspended elementary teacher returns to classroom

Rick Monroe

Special to the Village News

A veteran elementary teacher suspended in October 2021 is back in the classroom in the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District after several legal issues have come to conclusion.

Jennifer Humphreys returned to work on Jan. 5 to a second grade classroom at Fallbrook Stem Academy, reported Brian Morris, assistant superintendent of human resources for the district.

She was suspended from her third grade class at Frasier Elementary School for refusing testing for Covid. The Commission on Professional Competence ruled by a 3-0 vote in June that her dismissal should be reversed, and that she should return to teaching with back pay and benefits. However, the FUESD appealed that decision to the Superior Court in San Diego in August.

In December, Judge Keri Katz upheld the unanimous vote by the commission in favor of Humphreys. The CPC report stated, “It is quite evident that the district rushed to dismiss the respondent.”

“I’m very relieved that the court affirmed the commission's decision in my favor and am so grateful to finally be back in the classroom,” the 21-year teacher said in a statement from her attorney. “I'm excited to meet my new students and am looking forward to getting back to work.”

The judge also ordered the district to pay Humphrey’s legal fees, which attorney Jon Vanderpool said would exceed $115,000. Morris didn’t reply to a request about the expense of the district’s legal team.

“In the weeks ahead, the district will take remaining steps necessary to comply with the Superior Court’s decision,” Morris said.

The district official added that since it’s a personnel matter, he couldn’t comment about a Village News request for details.

The CPC heard testimony from Humphreys and her team, as well as the district’s position before issuing its 28-page decision last summer. Summarized, it said Humphreys should have been given a more precise warning about the consequences of not testing before being suspended.

Humphreys said she was not an anti-vax advocate.

“Humphreys has admitted her poor decisions in choosing not to respond to three emails over a six-week period before the CDPH’s order took effect and for staying Miranda-warning-like silent at the Sept. 28, 2021, meeting precipitating her being directed on leave,” Vanderpool said in his brief. “She also professed sincere regret for not knowing what she didn’t know about the testing she could and should have undertaken, wherever and however she chose, prior to being served with immediate suspension.”


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