Officials at La Jolla Country Day School reversed themselves Monday and said they are inviting Sharon Rogers, wife of Navy Capt. Will Rogers III, to work for the school again next year.
Richard Roth, a public relations specialist hired by the school in the mounting dissension over the fourth-grade teacher’s removal from her classroom, said that “if we can assure 100% security for her, the faculty and the children,” the school will present her a new contract offer inviting her to return to the school when classes resume next fall.
If that cannot be worked out, then Rogers will be asked to work “off-campus” and contribute to the school by preparing teachers’ lessons and working with the alumni association, Roth said.
Other options being discussed call for her to teach via a live television hookup, or for her students to be bused to a more secure location, according to a parent of one of Sharon Rogers’ fourth graders.
Rogers was told by the school not to return after her van exploded on the morning of March 10 at a busy intersection just blocks away from the school. The FBI has been investigating the bombing as a possible terrorist attack in retaliation for her husband’s command on the guided missile cruiser Vincennes, which last summer shot down, by mistake, an Iranian airliner in the Persian Gulf.
“The reason here is that she’s a tremendous asset,” Roth said. “She’s a master teacher. She’s worked here 12 years, and we’re doing everything possible to have her still make a contribution to the school.”
The school spokesman denied that Monday’s announcement was a turnaround from the school’s earlier decision to remove Sharon Rogers, even though school officials had told The Times that she would not return to the school next year.
“We don’t necessarily concede that it is a new development,” he said. “She’s employed now like any other teacher. She’s doing work for her compensation. And we’ve said we would honor her contract for the remainder of this year and give her full pay.
“Now we’re just trying to figure out what we’re going to do next year.”
Sharon Rogers could not be reached for comment Monday. But Navy Cmdr. David (Matt) Dillon said he spoke with her Monday afternoon and told her that the school was considering re-extending her teaching contract.
“She didn’t know anything about it,” he said. “She’s not received any calls from them.
“But when I told her, she just kind of said, ‘Oh, OK.’ But she’s still waiting to talk to them directly before she has any response.”
Roth said administrators have been trying to contact Rogers to discuss a new contract offer, but have been unable to reach her. She and her husband are under the protection of the Naval Investigative Service at a location away from their home.
He said school officials are “assuming that she does” want to return to her Country Day classroom.