Monday, November 19, 2007

Two Tiverton Teachers Suspended


"TWO TIVERTON TEACHERS SUSPENDED FOR PUBLISHING PARENT LETTER CRITICAL OF SCHOOL COMMITTEE." This is the headline from Pat Crowley's press release. Two Tiverton High English teachers, Chris Fielding and Christina Hallman, were placed on “Administrative Leave.”

This means: do not report for work. It may also mean no pay or with pay. They could also be assigned other duties if they are being paid. A hearing usually follows which may be public or not, usually teacher's choice. Loads of fun. Evidently they published a letter written by high parents wishing to remain anonymous that was critical of the school committee, particularly the chair, Denise DeMedeiros. This was published in a Union newsletter.

I'm trying to figure out the justification for this retaliatory action. Or it just may be a pointless charge designed to push the Union to "be good." As one side get more & more frustrated in a going-nowhere dispute, tempers flare. While they are scheduled for arbitration, this applies only to non-monetary clauses. Actions & counter-actions become the norm. Why do we put up with this when the Lege has the power & mandate to change this idiotic, destructive process when contract negotations stall and become combative - personally & professionally.

The Tiverton Teachers will be picketing the Tiverton School Superintendent’s office this afternoon at 2:45 PM. The office is behind Tiverton High School, 100 North Brayton Rd, Tiverton, RI.“The Tiverton School committee seems more interested in lashing out than reaching out,” said Patrick Crowley, Assistant Executive Director of NEARI, the parent union of NEA Tiverton.

This is all thanks to the new local tax caps imposed with no extra funding from the General Assembly. The Finance Chair is already telling communities to expect no increase in funding, so I would expect to see a lot more disputes along this line next year. Not good for anyone.
Via RI Future here is some of the letter:

I think it is about time we do something about the behavior of our school committee officers. Most of all, it is our chairwoman, Mrs. deMedeiros that angers us. Our sons and daughters all asked three teacher (sic) around the first of the month of October for recommendations. All teachers said YES and provided them to guidance within a week. Contrary to her statement, it is obvious they did not write them in the summer! The things she is saying are lies. We really do not want to give our names because our children are in many classes with her two daughters.

The letter went on to urge all parents to start attending school committee meetings- a good idea under all circumstances. "Click here to send a fax, via Rhode Island Jobs with Justice, and demand justice for the Teachers Hallman and Fielding."

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