Carver: Town rejects teacher’s plea for extra paid time off to visit injured soldier son

High School math teacher Sonya Lomax’s appeal to overturn School Superintendent Elizabeth Sorrell’s decision was unanimously denied by the School Committee Monday night. Lomax asked for three additional paid days to welcome home her soldier stepson who was seriously wounded in late October by an explosion while serving in Afghanistan.

Lomax was visually upset the School Committee did not warrant her situation as an exceptional case, “I just feel that I dedicate myself. I’ve been a teacher for 17 years here. I dedicate myself to my students and when I needed something I didn’t get it.”

The Carver High teacher previously used her nine contracted paid days to visit the recovering soldier at Walter Reed Medical Center. Carver residents, like Paul Johnson, believe town officials should be sympathetic and not worry about finances, “We can find a way to fund almost anything else. We can fund thousands of dollars in other things, but we can’t fund something for a young man who gave a portion of his body for us? We need to make an exception. This isn’t about bureaucracy; this is about doing the right thing tonight.”

But committee member Cally Minahan explained it would be fiscally irresponsible, “In this specific situation, Ms. Lomax has been granted nine paid days, one additional day, then the eight days agreed to the contract. After careful consideration, it is not my recommendation to override the decision of the superintendent.”

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, Lomax has up to twenty-four unpaid weeks of time-off. Superintendent Sorrell explained Lomax cannot utilize or transfer paid sick days for an illness or injury that is not her own.

Lomax explained her contracted paid time-off was used when she first learned of her stepson’s condition two months ago.

About Trisha McNeilly

With a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Boston under her belt, Trisha McNeilly joins us full-time as a general assignment and breaking news reporter having previously interned for WBZ-1030 AM in Boston. A South Shore resident her whole life, McNeilly grew up in Pembroke and is 22-years old.