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Former MAPS teacher speaks out after termination

A former teacher at Mankato Area Public Schools is speaking out after being terminated last week.
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 8:34 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2022 at 8:36 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - A former teacher at Mankato Area Public Schools is speaking out after being terminated last week.

Darwin Silva claims he was fired after his resignation request was denied.

“I was hoping for the district to come to an agreement and for things to end a different way,” Silva stated.

He started working at MAPS in 2016, first as a paraprofessional before becoming a special education teacher.

He also coached tennis at both Mankato East and West.

Silva said the role was demanding, and when a family event took a toll on his mental health last fall, it became overwhelming.

He submitted a letter of resignation to MAPS on Nov. 12 after being offered a new position at Kato Public Charter School.

“I had to prioritize what was best for me and the overall wellbeing of my family,” Silva mentioned.

In the letter, Silva requested a release from his contract with the district, which was effective through the end of the school year.

The district denied his request.

MAPS was unable to comment on Silva’s specific situation, but Director of Administrative Services John Lustig was able to provide general information on employee contracts.

“Because it’s a contract rather than a standard employment that hiring other positions that we may have, a two-week notice is generally not the process,” Lustig explained. “Either party cannot get out of the contract unless both parties agree to severing the contract. We try to work through leaves of absence before we come to a mutual agreed-upon separation.”

Silva claims MAPS refused to make any accommodations.

He said he gave the district plenty of time to come to a mutual agreement by working until Christmas break.

He was terminated after he did not return.

Silva added, “It would be considered a failure to report to work or a failure to teach.”

Silva spoke about the situation at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

“I used that platform to let the community know what happened and the real reason for my termination,” Silva stated.

He shared a recording to Facebook with a caption reading in part, “Let the truth be known!”

Greater Mankato Community: Today I would like to share the truth about my termination of employment from Mankato Area Public Schools ISD77. To all the families, students and co-workers from Futures Program and Mankato West and Mankato East High School tennis teams, it was an absolute honor and privilege to have the opportunity to be able to serve you for the past 6 years! I had to make the decision to look for another employment opportunity to prioritize the needs of my family. Unfortunately ISD77 was not willing to come to reasonable agreement, and as a result I was terminated (or fired) as of yesterday since my resignation was not accepted by the district. Please watch this video as I share with the ISD77 school board the events leading to my termination. Let the truth be known!

Posted by Darwin Silva on Wednesday, January 19, 2022

But MAPS said the whole truth was unable to be shared.

Lustig mentioned, “There were things that were shared in public forum that we would say aren’t accurate and because we are a public employer, and doing employment things in public, we’re also handcuffed a little bit that we’re not able to speak to some of that.”

Terminating contracts is not easy, according to MAPS. The process is outlined by state law.

Lustig added, “We try to minimize any changes in teachers for the continuity of instruction.”

Silva is now working in his new role at Kato Public Charter School, and the district is working to fill his position.

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