Wake teacher resigns after rosary incident

She had asked students not to wear rosary as necklace

khui@newsobserver.comJanuary 29, 2013 

— A Wake County middle school teacher who was suspended with pay after telling students not to wear rosary beads in class has resigned.

Patricia Corbino, a sixth-grade science teacher at Leesville Road Middle School in North Raleigh, was suspended Aug. 30 while the school district investigated a complaint filed by a parent. Corbino resigned Nov. 30, according to Mike Charbonneau, a Wake schools spokesman.

Her resignation closed the human resources investigation, the system said.

Corbino did not return several requests for comment. Previously, she said she’s been “humbled” by all those who have contacted her to tell her they support her.

On Aug. 27, the first day of classes, Corbino, who is Catholic, explained to students her classroom rules. Among them was a request that any student who wore a rosary as a necklace remove it during her class.

The rosary represents a series of prayers. Catholics use rosary beads to keep track of the prayers as they proceed through the rosary. The Roman Catholic Church tells its members not to treat rosaries as jewelry, although some believers, particularly Latino Catholics, do wear them as necklaces.

A Protestant parent of one of Corbino’s students complained to school officials, saying the teacher’s rule violated her students’ right to free expression. It’s unclear whether any of Corbino’s students were wearing rosaries.

Corbino, who had a salary of $51,127 a year, was suspended with pay for three months during the investigation. A new teacher was assigned to replace her at Leesville.

Hui: 919-829-4534

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