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Teacher Who Left Student Keeps Job

February 22, 2000

CHICAGO (AP) _ A high school teacher who left a 16-year-old student behind in Spain after the teen lost his passport will be allowed to keep her job after all but will be disciplined.

Paul Vallas, chief executive of the Chicago school system, had originally said teacher Christine Matishak should be fired. But he backed off from that demand Monday and said she will be disciplined instead. He did not elaborate on the type of discipline.

Matishak flew home with the other students at the end of an exchange trip this month after arranging for Preston Ross III to get a new passport and fly home two days later. Ross said the teacher arranged for a place for him to stay, found an adult to accompany him and let him use her credit card.

``I feel like Alice in Wonderland, falling down into the black hole,″ said Matishak, a teacher for 26 years. ``I’m trying to find out what I did wrong that almost cost me my job, to be maligned when I thought I had done every thing right and went beyond what I was supposed to do.″

According to Vallas, Matishak knew for two days that Ross had lost his passport and never contacted the school.

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