Story Archive

Sympathy Gambit

Leslie Herneisey, 51, a special education teacher at Pennsylvania’s Middletown Area Middle School, told her principal she had an inoperable brain tumor. Sympathetic co-workers collected donations to send her and her family on a trip to Disney World. The school extended special sick leave benefits to deal with her chemotherapy, and she was nominated — twice — for the state Department of Education Teacher of the Year award. But Herneisey didn’t get better, and she didn’t get sicker, and school officials finally got suspicious: the teacher kept insisting she had a tumor and needed lots of time off for medical care — for 16 years. The doctor she said was treating her told investigators he had never heard of her, and Herneisey has been charged with 12 counts of forging his signature on paperwork to justify her absences. “I think she made an unfortunate mistake,” said school superintendent Richard Weinstein. (RC/Middletown Press And Journal) ...Right: if she had simply died, no one would have ever caught on.
Original Publication Date: 18 July 2010
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 17.

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