A former campus president of a Kansas City trade school said he was fired after offering a homeless student shelter from cold weather.
Brian Carroll, campus president at Vatterott College in Kansas City for five years, says one of his students had no place to go.
So on Friday, Jan. 6, he allowed a student who is homeless and schizophrenic to sleep overnight in the school’s library. The school fired him on Monday, Jan. 9, the next business day, he said.
“Education is a beautiful thing to me,” Carroll told KTLA sister station WDAF in Kansas City. “But sometimes, it gets destroyed in the process.”
The recorded overnight temperatures outside Vatterott College on Jan. 6 hit four degrees below zero. Carroll told the station that student had been sleeping in a wooded area near the school, but temperatures were too harsh that night, and the student had nowhere to seek warmth.
“I just didn’t want to take the chance,” Carroll said. “We had ice and snow … I had a tough choice to make. He can’t stay on campus. I can’t put him in my car. I can’t take him to my house.”
According to Carroll, the student had run out of his medication. He allowed the student to bed down in the school’s library, and even though the student didn’t steal or damage anything, Carroll said he was fired once the school’s corporate leaders found out.
The building has a series of surveillance cameras that can be viewed via remote, which is how Vatterott’s St. Louis-based management team found out.
“I made a choice. I was choosing between life — I’m not from here. I’m from Southern California. I’m not sure if I could live in the woods at minus two degrees,” Carroll said.
Carroll says he and others around the campus had been trying to help the student find subsidized housing. Carroll has worked in education for 35 years, and says he knows he took a risk, but he chose to protect a student’s safety.
“I don’t know of a direct written policy that says you can’t keep someone overnight. There’s a policy that says I must protect the assets. I did,” Carroll said.
Carroll says it came down to money, and Vatterott officials fired him for putting their equipment and building at risk.
“My first reaction was, ‘Shouldn’t you just write me up for this?’ Their answer was no,” Carroll said on Monday.
Vatterott College’s spokesperson, Julie Bishop-Cross, told WDAF the school’s policy is not to comment on personnel matters.
Carroll says he hasn’t heard from the student in question, but he’d make the same choice again.