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No Donated Sick Time for Husband of Woman Who Lost Hands, Feet

Mark Rinehart, math teacher at South Gwinnett high and husband of Hannah Rinehart, is prohibited from accepting donated paid time off (PTO) time at South Gwinnett. A fundraiser is planned at tomorrow's Snellville Farmers Market.

Update Aug. 11, 1:35 p.m.:   

According to WSBRadio, Mark Rinehart, math teacher at South Gwinnett, is prohibited from accepting donated PTO from his fellow teachers. 

State law prohibits donating sick leave unless it's to a spouse.  Despite a plea to Gov. Deal, nothing will be done on a state level.  

Tomorrow, Improvisatori -- a local theatre troupe affiliated with Southern Gwinnett Community Arts -- is taking donations for Mark and Hannah.  The performance starts at 10 a.m.

According to a recent post by family on Hannah's Facebook page, "there is something on her lungs that appears to be spreading."

Hannah's condition is caused by a rare bacterial infection.  It was not the bacteria that caused the loss of her hands and feet, but the medication that directed blood away from her extremities and toward her vital organs. 

South Gwinnett High School, where Rinehart teaches, has been extremely supportive.  They are currently in their pre-planning sessions. 

His biggest need right now is simple:  prayer. 

“There’s times I’m doing great and have it held together,” .  “Then there’s times I have to take a moment and let loose emotion.  I’m not angry, just upset and grieved that it’s going to be tougher for Hannah than for other people.”

Still, he is a strong believer in the power of prayer. 

“I’m just grateful to anyone who is offering their prayers.  That means the world to me and Hannah,” he said.  

For more information, visit these pages:

Brett Harrell August 11, 2012 at 03:28 PM
David Johnson, Hannah's brother, contacted both State Representative Josh Clark and myself concerning the issue of Mark Rinehart's ability to get time off from Gwinnett County Public Schools to care for his wife. Representative Clark and I have made numerous inquiries regarding state law (OCGA 20-2-850) and local Board policies regarding teacher leave. Legislative counsel (state attorneys) responded to Rep. Clark's inquiry suggesting that "there doesn't seem to be a direct impediment for a school system to do this (provide leave)." One state attorney replied, "I haven't found anything that "prohibits" this (time-off)," and concluded that "the Code section should not be construed to prohibit a local board from adopting other policies relative to sick leave." It appears, based on the information I have received thus far, that the local GCPS Board has the authority to address this issue. I appreciate the great response from the local community, Hannah's family, Representative Clark, and the state's legislative counsel in seeking ways to assist Mark in caring for Hannah. As the family has requested, prayers remain the priority.
Denna Millard August 12, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Oh my gosh! I can understand if supposedly there is a GCPS Board rule on the books for donating sick leave which I am sure has been abused by some people. BUT WHY IS THERE NOT AN "EXCEPTIONAL LEAVE CLAUSE?" THIS CASE IS SO RARE THAT IT IS EXCEPTIONAL, AND NEEDS SPECIAL ATTENTION AND FINANCIAL CONSIDERATION/HELP.

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