Ingrid Peavy's dream was destroyed in a single vote. The Hillsborough County School Board ended the Pierce Middle School teacher's career with the district after one of her ESE students slipped off school grounds and walked five miles home.
Peavy didn't alert administrators when he didn't show up for class that day in October 2012, because she says he rarely came at all.
"That was our routine with this student. He never came to my class and if he did, he was escorted," she said during a special School Board hearing Tuesday.
Peavy's fellow teachers at Pierce Middle school backed her up.
"He was assigned to me, scheduled on my roster, never in my class," teacher Aron Zions said.
But just days before the incident, a new policy was announced by email. It said to call administrators if the student didn't show up to class.
An outside child protective agency investigated and found Peavy at fault.
"The fact of the matter is, the finding was made, it is there, and that finding disqualifies this person from being assigned to a classroom in Hillsborough County," School District attorney Tom Gonzalez said Tuesday.
Some teachers say the short email didn't stress the severity of the situation. Zions says the board's 4-3 ruling to fire Peavy will change the way he does his job.
"I won't volunteer to help a student like this. I volunteered to take him all year so someone else wouldn't have to. Not again," he said.
Her career crushed, Peavy was visibly shaking after the vote. Loved ones tried to console her.
"She has a heart of gold, no matter what people say," her mother said.
The student in this case made it home safely. School Board member Susan Valdes says his parents do not blame Peavy for the incident.
Those supporting Peavy say she's a scapegoat to cover the district's back, following the deaths of two ESE students around that same period of time.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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