A Henry County teacher has won a battle with the school district over sick leave.Keri Van Sickle told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri that she wants to donate a kidney to save her husband’s life, but was initially told that she was ineligible to withdraw time from the school system’s sick leave bank because she’s the donor, not the recipient.

A school committee on Tuesday approved Van Sickle’s request to use the system’s sick leave bank.

Van Sickle said she has taught in Henry County Schools for more than 20 years, and has contributed to the sick leave bank.

She said said when she went to Human Resources to apply for leave to donate a kidney to her husband, who has stage 4 kidney disease, she was told donating an organ is an elective procedure and would not be approved.

“I thought it was a safety net for people who have unusual situations. I certainly thought I qualify as an unusual situation,” Van Sickle said.

She has two weeks of her own sick leave, but will likely be out for a total of five to six weeks.

According to the sick leave bank policy, organ transplant is one of the illnesses for which withdrawal from the sick leave bank is approved.

It does not specify donor or recipient.

“I’m kind of at their mercy because I’ll be out about five weeks with no income,” Van Sickle said.

Van Sickle’s surgery is scheduled for Aug. 11.

She said she was disappointed that the district was not more supportive.

“That man laying in bed beside me breathing at night is sanity for me and if I can save his life, let’s go for it,” she said.

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