Approximately six lifeguards were fired from the Maplewood Family Aquatic Center on Tuesday and more on Wednesday, according to lifeguard manager, Aryanna Carper, one of those fired. Another lifeguard and his parent confirmed the firings.
Carper said Thursday it was over some things said on an Apple group app (GroupMe) that many of the lifeguards used to communicate with each other.
What got Carper and others upset was that most of the use of the app was off-work — “hanging out and going to events together, things like that,” she said. “I guess things in it were inappropriate and people were getting offended.”
She said a group of six or seven lifeguards were called to Maplewood City Hall, and in one-on-one meetings a director from The Heights and a human relations person told them they were fired.
“The HR lady told us we were terminated and we needed to sign this piece of paper, which I think most of us did not do,” Carper said. “I was pretty worked up at the moment she was reading it to me. I said you can keep reading that but I’m not going to sign it without talking to my parents first.”
Carper said more were fired on Wednesday; she estimated it’s up to 16 so far. The Post-Dispatch reported that the final number was eight.
“This is my third summer at the pool, and I’ve never being written up before or warned for anything at all,” Carper said. “I put in a lot of hours there. Our first month of summer we were so understaffed they approved overtime. A lot of people were pushing over 60 hours a week to pick up the slack.”
Parks and Recreation Cooperative Directer Teresa Proebsting directed questions about the firing to Richmond Heights Community Relations Coordinator Mary Binns, who said the firing was over the use of social media, but had no details. She directed 40 South to Assistant City Manager Pam Hylton, who said she couldn’t comment because it is personnel-related.