Sunday, September 16, 2007

Odor Of Cigarette Smoke Causes School Employee To Lose Job

The Denton Independent School District has removed an employee from her position because she smells like cigarette smoke. Suzanne Lidster was thrilled when she was recently hired to assist a student with disabilities at L.A. Nelson Elementary. "It's something that God sent me here to do with this child," Lidster told reporters. "It's like OK, this fell in my lap." But after less than two weeks on the job, Lidster said she received a voicemail informing her that she had lost her position. The school's principal left a message on her cell phone saying that a doctor said the odor of smoke on Lidster had aggravated the student's allergies. The principal also said that Lidster was not a good fit for the job. "Like getting a voicemail from the school saying hey, don't come back to the school because you stink from smoke."Lidster said she smokes eight cigarettes a day but never on campus. "I don't stink," she said. But she admits that she may be used to the smell after smoking for 32 years. Lidster tearfully told reporters that she would never do anything that might hurt a child. "No, I would never harm a child, never knowingly harm a child smoking a cigarette, having the odors on my body, no I would never ever harm a child." A district spokeswoman told reporters that she couldn't talk about the case but did say Lidster had not been fired. The spokeswoman said because Lidster is an at-will employee, she could be terminated at any time for no reason. Denton ISD's human resources officer is looking into the case. Lidster said she will quit smoking but will do it on her own terms.