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School Board Denies Policy Change for Rineharts

Update: Gwinnett County Public School spokesperson says no decision has been made. Mark Rinehart will meet with officials today to discuss further options.

Update, Aug. 24, 2:20 p.m.: Sloan Roach, spokesperson for Gwinnett County Public Schools, said that, despite previous reports, no decision has been reached. 

Channel 2 Action News reported last night that Gwinnett County School Board will not change their leave policy for South Gwinnett math teacher Mark Rinehart. 

 from his fellow teachers in order to be with his wife, Hannah, while she recovers from a bacterial infection and multiple amputations. However, that is not allowed under school board policy. 

"We just can't do it for one person. We have requests frequently to do the type of thing that they have requested. But we have 22,000 employees," Gwinnett County Schools Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said to Channel 2 News. 

The family of Hannah was not aware of the decision until they heard it on Channel 2, David Johnson, Hannah's brother, told Snellville Patch.

"Every decision they have made so far," said Johnson, "we have had to learn from the press." 

Human Resources is trying to work with Mark to find a solution that will work for everyone. They will meet with Mark again today at 3:30.

If you would like to be involved in helping the Rineharts, leave a note in the comments and we can all work together to make a difference here.  

Multiple fundraisers are being planned, including one at Medlock Park on Oct. 6 sponsored by Operation Appreciation. Before that, on Sept. 29, Westminster Presbyterian Church will host a fundraiser and blood drive.

"Even with my civilian and military careers combined, I don’t make enough money to be able to afford the expenses to come," said Mark Rinehart in a statement on a website dedicated to Hannah. "Immediate needs are the practical ones which include the living expenses Hannah’s salary would have covered as well as medical deductibles for this year and next. More distant needs include prosthetics, renovations to our home, vehicle modifications, and anything else that may not be covered by my health insurance for Hannah.

"If I truly want to ensure that I am doing everything within my power to help Hannah, I need to ask for the assistance of others.  Please help me so that I, in turn, can help my wife.”

Snellville Patch will bring you more information soon on how to help and who is raising money for the family. 

TOWG August 24, 2012 at 01:53 PM
This should be a warning to all 22,000 GCPS employees that your school board will not stand behind you in a time of need. This is disgraceful and I am going to remember it when it's time to go to the polls.
j m davis August 24, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Maybe the Copeland's can come out and be a voice since their daughter is going thru the same horrible medical situation. Hopefully, the people of Snellville and STAT will come together for another one of their own. Mr. Reinhart keep your wife in the news. Mr. Copeland was his daughter's voice and the people listened and helped. Good Luck to you and your family. I do hope big companies (Pulte) listen one more time.
M.K. OSBORNE August 24, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Pledge your sick time , take your days off sick , write them a check or give cash . make it happen . Then deal with a amendment to the procedures & policies to make a change for future hardships , enlist the public if needed .
Dave Emanuel August 24, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Perhaps the Gwinnett County School Board members who are denying Mr. Reinhart's request should spend a little time in the classroom where they can learn the meaning of the words, "exception" and "compassion". Mr. Wilbanks has stated, "we have requests frequently to do the type of thing they have requested." And I'm sure every one of those requests comes from someone who is dealing with a life-threatening or life-changing disease. In essence, Mr. Wilbanks is saying, "We can't give out a bandaid to everyone who cuts himself, so if you have a serious wound, you'll just have to bleed to death unless you can find someone else to help you. That's certainly the mentality we all want to be in charge of our educational system.
M.K. OSBORNE August 24, 2012 at 07:15 PM
In this day of lawsuits unfortunately you have to remain steadfast to policy and procedures to protect the taxpayers from unneeded lawsuits , that doesn't mean you cant change policy ahead of the next time it is needed . I support anything we can do to make our teachers experience working for GCPS the greatest employment decision they have made ! We just need to do it the right way according to the game at hand !
M.K. OSBORNE August 24, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Hello Mr Dave ...... Just visiting your neck of the woods .
Dave Emanuel August 24, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Welcome M.K. Your point about lawsuits is well taken, but I'm sure that a group of compassionate people can find a way to lend assistance while complying with existing requirements. What I find most disturbing is what appears to be the school board's lack of willingness to look for a solution.
M.K. OSBORNE August 24, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Well Dave , If they can all of a sudden decide to get creative to pay the chamber , then they can amend this policy & procedure on paper and help this and future hardships that arise .And yes this can be done all of a sudden also . If you cant take care of the ones who take care of you , we have a serious problem . I strongly suggest the board members be waiting for this revision .
Dave Emanuel August 24, 2012 at 08:23 PM
What I find truly ironic, and a bit hypocritical about the school board is that its members would find it unacceptable if a teacher displayed the same type of callousness.
M.K. OSBORNE August 24, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Well Dave that attitude can be adjusted very quickly at the polls . and i can provide references if they don't believe it .
Resident of Gwinnett August 25, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Praying for you and your wife.... I am sure there are employees that do not use their time each year... I do not know if sick/ vacation time rolls over each year if it does not (or even if it does)there should be a donation pool.... It's your time you earned it you should be able to donate to whom ever you choose.... Another thought.... What about all the drug monies sitting in evidence rooms all over the country ... This money should be placed in an interest bearing accounts there should be a grant fund where one can apply to receive funding on major situations like this ... I know guidelines must be placed but every dollar helps... I bet orginazation would match .... What happen to " help thy neighbor".... We are sending money over seas... Let's start with our own .....praying For you
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew August 26, 2012 at 03:07 AM
@Resident A pool perse' does exist currently, but how much can pass through it may be at issue.
M.K. OSBORNE August 26, 2012 at 03:51 PM
"R" Can the pool perse' limits be adjusted by the boards action or can it simply be done by the Superintendent .What negative affect would prevent this that you could think of ?
M.K. OSBORNE August 26, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Oh ... Welcome to Snellville Where everybody is somebody , even you "R' .
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew August 26, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Why thank you sir.... may I have another?
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew August 26, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Seems if it would involve less than 150K per year, the Superintendent could do it - no questions asked or real answers provided... On the surface, the wisdom of expanding the policy would seem to prevail in this matter due to the past cancer bouts the family has already fought. It may just be a stickier wicket though behind the scenes since it relates to personnel, their records, past rulings in OTHER cases and it might open up some unintended issues. I’m sure the school board could look into it quickly and they should start RIGHT now.
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew August 27, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I support a triage first approach!! Of course, there may be an immediate stop-gap solution until the legal beagles get finished and that would be a "re-gifting" of some recent monies that the Chamber received from county taxpayers. If they could spend funds on TSPLOST support... .
M.K. OSBORNE August 27, 2012 at 02:45 AM
Your right R ! A precedent has been established that we can indeed fast track a cause . And of course there is a Carter School opposition stance that could in fact be bolstered or blundered by how a matter such as this is handled . I am a staunch supporter of our world class schools in Gwinnett County and i want to make sure we are being world class employers as well .
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew August 27, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Uh Oh M.K I'm getting a thrill up my leg, you may have to run for office... (Smiles)
R++ One of the Famous Dacula Crew August 27, 2012 at 02:58 AM
@ Dave A well reasoned post, you represent your citizens well. Good luck sir.
M.K. OSBORNE August 27, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Charter that is .
M.K. OSBORNE August 27, 2012 at 03:12 AM
I think they will do the right thing . But hey........ you never know . Right now i will trust that they will show everyone that they are indeed a world class employer .


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