BVT Teacher with ALS Runs Out of Sick Time Before Reaching Ten Year Milestone For Lifelong Benefits

17035420_1492145543.759_funddescription.jpgPhillip LeMarbre had taught biology at Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School for almost ten years when he was recently terminated just 118 days short of reaching the milestone anniversary.  LeMarbre was diagnosed with ALS in August of 2016 and was counting on reaching that milestone so he could collect a full pension and benefits including health and life insurance.

His daughter recently wrote a letter to the editor for a local online newspaper hoping to bring attention to this matter. She states in the letter that although the school district followed the laws and did nothing wrong there is something wrong with a system that allows someone to be fired a few months before they are entitled to retirement benefits.  You can read her letter here.

The community is outraged over this story. One headline I found read  “Blackstone Valley Tech Superintendent intentionally prevented AP biology teacher With ALS From Teaching Final 103 Days So He Couldn’t Collect Life Insurance, Retirement, And Health Insurance”  

In the comments on various social sites a common question is why LeMarbre’s fellow teachers are not allowed to donate their sick time to LeMarbre.

I am wondering ..some places have banks of sick days. Could each teacher at his school give him one of their sick days?  I left a school after working there 1 year due to cancer. I had disability insurance through them. This is not right. I will be saying prayers for your family.

When asked to comment Blackstone Valley Tech submitted the following statement.

“Mr. LeMarbre has been a valued member of the Valley Tech staff for almost 10 years. The District has done everything possible for him within the confines of the law, local and State policies. The issue that has been discussed publicly by his family touches on a confidential personnel matter. We will not be commenting on the issue.”

A GoFundMe site has been set up for anyone who wishes to help Phillip LeMarbre get through this difficult time which can be found here. 

BVT Student Council members are combining their love for handball with their love for Dr. LeMarbre in a benefit handball tournament to be held on June 9th, 2017 from 4-6 PM at BVT.  Donations will be accepted at the door as an entry fee for spectators. You can find out additional information about the tournament here. 

feature photo courtesy of the GoFundMe page

About Jennifer Doyle


  1. Such a shame when a Teacher has been a Great leader to the Children he teaches. Health should never be a tool to fire someone.

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