Massachusetts Teacher Denied Extra Paid Leave to Welcome Home Stepson Wounded in Afghanistan

A Massachusetts school board has denied a teacher's request for three paid days off to welcome home her soldier stepson who was seriously injured while serving in Afghanistan.

Sonya Lomax, a high school math teacher in Carver, Mass., had asked for the three additional days to visit with her stepson, 23-year-old Army Spc. Todd Lomax, who was seriously wounded after being hit by shrapnel in a grenade explosion in Kandahar Province in October.

Lomax had already taken the nine paid days of leave allotted to her under her contract, but requested an additional three days of leave, citing "extenuating circumstances," Fox affiliate WFXT-TV reported.

Lomax had used the nine days in her contract to visit Todd at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, where he was being treated for fractures, lacerations and head trauma. The high school teacher then asked for more time so that she can visit him when he returns to Fort Drum in New York, where his unit, the 10th Mountain Division, is based.

But Liz Sorrell, the superintendent of Carver High School, denied Lomax's request for the extra days, saying she was forced to honor the contract agreed upon by the school system and the teacher's union. Lomax then appealed to the school's committee board to overturn the decision.

The board, however, voted unanimously Monday night to uphold Sorrell's decision denying Lomax the days. Lomax had reportedly shared the story of her son's traumatic accident before the committee on Monday.

Many Carter residents, like Paul Johnson, said the board should have made an exception in Lomax's case.

"We can find a way to fund almost anything else," Johnson told WATD-FM. "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.”

Sorrell had previously granted additional days to a faculty member whose home burned down, according to WFXT.

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