A recent story published by Seattle’s KOMO News presented yet another case of an individual’s seemingly wrongful termination, after blowing the whistle on his superiors. Sean Taeschner, a former seventh grade teacher at the St. Paul School in Seattle, WA, claims he was fired after revealing that the Catholic school wrongfully utilized $200,000 in corporate matching funds. Taeschner stated that former principal Wayne Melonson wrongfully retained remaining funds from parent donations for student field trips to Washington, D.C. Taeschner claims that upon unveiling evidence that Mr. Melonson misused the donations, his teaching contract was not renewed. Prior to this incident, Mr. Taeschner was seen to be in good standing at the school.
An audit of the school’s financial records commissioned by the Seattle Archdiocese confirmed that Melonson did retain the funds as a “stipend for serving as tour director” for the field trips. Bishop Joseph Tyson, Superintendant of Catholic Schools, issued a letter to the St. Paul Parish, requesting that the money be repaid. In response, Archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni stated that any reimbursement would be unnecessary, claiming that the funds were used appropriately. Based on such commentary, Mr. Taeschner now believes the Archdiocese to be involved in the scandal.
Taeschner’s claims are supported by the findings in the audit, but the former teacher still remains unemployed and has been unsuccessful in finding another teaching position. Despite his current situation, Taeschner continues to assert that he “had a moral obligation” to reveal the school’s misconduct. His lawsuit against the diocese is currently pending.
*Elizabeth Finkelman (a NWC intern) drafted this posting.