A teacher who was put on paid leave and eventually fired from an Ohio elementary school for texting a photo of her principal’s face on a shooting range target and threatening to use her concealed carry weapon (CCW) license has finally broken her silence, saying she never intended to harm anyone and was simply airing her frustrations.
Nori McCall-Fasse was a 19-year teaching veteran and a first-grade teacher at Urbana North Elementary School when she sent the incriminating text messages in September 2017. In the first text, sent to a school secretary, McCall-Fasse asked to access her substitution folder at the behest of Principal Julie Willoughby, who McCall-Fasse felt had been bullying her, according to WHIO-TV.
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“Something is about to get ‘real’! Can I please have my stupid sub folder put into my mailbox?” the text read, according to the Springfield News-Sun. “JW [Julie Willoughby] is freakin’ crazy!”
The message was reported to Willoughby three days later, and McCall-Fasse was immediately placed on administrative leave as Urbana superintendent Charles Theil conducted an investigation. The teacher then decided to send a second text message, this time to a different co-worker. It included the photo of Willoughby’s head superimposed onto a shooting range target.
According to a report by an Ohio Department of Education referee assigned to the case, Willoughby was “extremely upset” when the shooting range target photo made its way to her.
“That made me feel like this is really serious, that she’s planning something, now I’m in danger,” Willoughby is quoted in the report. “I felt sick.”
Ultimately, the school district terminated McCall-Fasse.
“I think I can say that the board and administration of the district are relieved to finally have this issue resolved,” Theil said at the time.
McCall-Fasse appealed her firing to Champaign County Common Pleas Court, but the court ruled in the school district’s favor.
This week, McCall-Fasse finally broke her silence about the case, telling the Springfield News-Sun that she never meant to threaten Willoughby — or anyone.
“If I was going to hurt Julie Willoughby, I would have sent it directly to her if I wanted to scare her,” McCall-Fasse told the publication.
“What I made was never for her to even ever see. That wasn’t my intention. My co-workers were really close and every night we were always texting our frustrations. Those were the safe people to go to.”
She added, “It’s not my personality to be violent with anyone ever. It’s just not me. The people who know me know that.”
McCall-Fasse told WHIO-TV that she, in fact, was the one who had been targeted — metaphorically speaking — by Willoughby, whom she called “a bully principal.” She said that when dealing with Willoughby, “it was one thing after another.”
The teacher would often vent to her colleagues, she said, claiming that she attempted to use humor as a coping mechanism.
“There was a meme I sent of Julie Willoughby’s face above a target thingy,” she said. “It was for my co-worker … as a joke.”
In fact, McCall-Fasse told the Springfield News-Sun she believes there was an ulterior motive for her firing. She feels it was because she “spoke up for the rights of her students and questioned the school’s administration.” She said the policy Theil employed to justify her termination was arbitrary, and that she deserved a less severe punishment, as she alleges she never actually intended to harm anyone.
Some colleagues and members of McCall-Fasse’s community tend to agree. Jack Beard, a former member of the Urbana Board of Education, told WHIO-TV that Theil’s actions were “arbitrary and capricious and vindictive.”
And an online petition launched in 2018 to attempt to reinstate McCall-Fasse garnered the support of 215 people and counting.
“Nori is an amazing person and clearly loves her students. She doesn’t deserve to lose her job over something like this,” one person commented.
Another mom called her a “wonderful teacher.”
But the district insists McCall-Fasse violated board policies that prohibited threatening conduct by sending the texts and the shooting target image, and that they back Thiel’s decision to remove the teacher. Yahoo Lifestyle has reached out to Urbana City Schools for its reaction to the teacher’s latest public comments.
Meanwhile, McCall-Fasse is still not teaching and is not sure if she ever wants to again.
“It hasn’t ruined my career, but it’s hard for me to get over wanting to go back to another school district because of the trauma I went through,” she told the Springfield News-Sun. “It would be hard to believe anything will ever be different because it is so fresh in my mind.”
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