Samantha Scrine, 26, was fired from the Gowerton Comprehensive School in Swansea, Wales after it came to light that she had lied to her colleagues for nearly a year. Of course, most people tell harmless, little fibs every day, so what makes Ms. Scrine's dishonesty so egregious? She convinced her coworkers that she was dying from a rare form of stomach cancer. Even more, she solicited help from her colleagues, she conned the school out of funds, she even made plans for her own funeral.
Scrine was employed by the Gowerton School from September of 2011 to September 2013 when she was dismissed for "gross misconduct of an unusual and serious nature." On Monday, the details of Scrine's odd behavior were laid out before a disciplinary panel run by the General Teaching Council for Wales.
There are currently five charges levied at Samantha Scrine. The first alleges that she, "made false statements and/or provided false information to the School and members of staff at the School regarding their health and wellbeing." This one has been proven true. Actually, even Scrine herself admits culpability (kind of).
She claims that she initially lied to her coworkers (i.e. she told them she was dying from inoperable stomach cancer) because she truly believed she was at death's door. She may not have been diagnosed with the real kind of cancer, but in her odd little noggin, death seemed imminent. Scrine claims to have visited hospitals and taken medication to deal with the "medical anxiety" she was experiencing. In other words, her defense is that depression made her do it.
Among Scrine's other listed crimes is the claim that she, "obtained DNA swab samples from members of staff at the School and/or members of their family under false pretences." At one point during her ruse, Scrine convinced other teachers that her stomach cancer had spread to her hip and beyond and that a bone marrow transplant could possibly save her life. In an effort to see if any of the Gowerton staff would be compatible, she collected several swabs of DNA from them.
For their help, Scrine sent fake letters from "Abertawe Bro Morgannwyg University Health Board and circulated them to members of staff at the School," committing yet another infraction. Though, to be honest, the official congrats had to have made her colleagues feel like total heroes for giving of their time (and saliva) to potentially help save a friend. Even better, they got the joy of giving without the annoyance of having to actually give.
During the nine or so months that Scrine's con was in play, her fellow teachers worked overtime to cover her absence, so she could go to what she claimed were chemotherapy appointments. Over the course of her "illness" the school accommodated her for nearly 230 hours of work (that's the better part of a month) which reportedly cost the Gowerton School about £6,000 (that's $10,000 in real money).
Among her other charges, Scrine is accused of sending several hundred text messages to her coworkers over this time in which she "purported to be [her own] mother whilst communicating with members of staff at the School." She also used a fake letter from her "mother" to ensure that one of her coworkers would "look after her" (read: be her friend) during the faculty Christmas party. In May of 2013, she showed up to work with a stent in her chest, and asked for help adjusting it. She gave one co-worker a list of songs to play at her funeral and a credit card to cover the affair.
At the hearing, frustrated coworkers described Scrine's behavior as "attention-seeking bullying” that disrupted their private lives. For her part, Scrine admits to actually committing the misdeeds, she just swears that she isn't responsible for them. Her representative Angharad Booker told the disciplinary panel, "She genuinely believed she was sick and that she had cancer. Everything that took place took place because of her belief that she was unwell. Her mind was not her own and she was unable to rationalise her thoughts at that time."
According to the GTCW's web site, the hearing is expected to last three days, Monday the 16th until Wednesday the 18th.