RI School Nurse Still Employed With Pay After Being Found with Heroin

Posted: Apr 01, 2014 4:00 PM

A high school nurse in Rhode Island found passed out in her car in a liquor store parking lot with a crack pipe, syringes, and balloon of heroin has not been fired, but rather has been placed on "paid administrative leave."

Lynn A. Magnusen, a nurse at Narragansett High School, was discovered unconscious in her car the evening of March 13. The balloon of heroin was uncovered during a cavity search at the police station, and Magnusen has subsequently been charged with drug possession. As Magnusen has been suspended with pay, taxpayers in Rhode Island will be on the hook for her salary and that of the substitute nurse until the case goes to court and she is found guilty.

While drug addiction is a sad disease that merits treatment, it is absurd that Rhode Islanders have to continue to pay this woman's salary. It is equally troubling that a woman who clearly has a host of issues was granted access to student medications for an extended period of time. This also raises a point about showing concern for others — a person doesn't exactly go from being clean and sober to smuggling heroin inside of one's private parts overnight. How was this missed?

Or perhaps a better question is this: what on earth must a public sector employee do to merit being fired?