DANVILLE, Ill. – Americans might not agree on much these days, but we can all agree that kids should not be bullied at school.
But what happens when the school bully turns out to be the child’s teacher?
That concern was raised at a Danville school board meeting last night by parent and school board member Gina McGuire, who alleges her high school-aged son was “harassed” by a teacher over comments McGuire made on a social media website.
The nature of McGuire’s comments has not been made clear, but they may have been about the district’s ongoing contract negotiations with theDanville Education Association (the local teachers union).
While the union’s current contract won’t expire until this summer, Commercial-News.com reports that previous negotiations have been rocky, and resulted in a teachers’ strike in 2010.
According to McGuire, her son’s teacher attempted to detain him after class and pepper him with personal questions.
“He wanted to know my son’s opinion of teachers and what teachers are paid,” McGuire said, according to Commercial-News.com. “Why would you single out a child and ask him that? He didn’t understand what was going on.”
It appears the teacher may be a bit overzealous, and may have allowed union politics to spill over into the classroom.
McGuire said she met with the teacher and a union representative to discuss her online comments, but believes children should not be dragged into the political fray.
“Parents, I ask you to become involved,” McGuire said, according to the news site. “Know who the people are teaching your child. It’s not OK to harass children because you don’t agree with an opinion of an adult.”
The superintendent said he will investigate the matter.
New Jersey teachers picket outside student’s home
Another recent incident in Franklin, New Jersey raises more concerns about the hyper-political nature of many teacher unions.
Last week, members of the Delsea Education Association spent part of their Valentine’s Day picketing outside the home of school board president Mario Christina for a larger pay increase.
Christina wasn’t home at the time, but his daughter was. Several of the picketers were also the girl’s teachers, according to NJ.com.
Christina refused to comment on the incident, but another school board member took the union to task for its classless behavior.
“This isn’t a dispute about a pay cut. This is a dispute about the raise being big enough,” board member Tom Tobin said, according to the news site. “I think we all lost a tremendous amount of respect for the people who were involved.
“If we are talking about a percentage point or two on a contract that would drive someone in the union leadership to think it’s OK to go to someone’s home, I would have to question that someone like that is teaching our kids. I would have concerns about other decisions these teachers would make.”