This morning I opened an email from the union-front group known as “Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance” asking me to sign one of their famous petitions:
“Chelmsford teacher and union leader Jennifer Salmon recently brought concerns to light about student safety at her elementary school. In response, she was placed on administrative leave by the school district.
As the democratically elected president of the Chelmsford Federation of Teachers, she serves as a tireless advocate for students and educators in Chelmsford. Placing her on leave raises issues well beyond Mrs. Salmon to the need for all Chelmsford teachers to have the freedom to address their concerns and be effective advocates for students.
Please sign this petition demanding that Chelmsford Public Schools reinstate Mrs. Salmon, make a public apology, and address the safety issues raised by parents and teachers at Harrington Elementary School.”
Oh, really? Brought safety concerns? Sounds BAD.
From the article in the Lowell Sun, all I can see is the AFT demanding private student record information and throwing a criminal assault-level temper tantrum when met with resistance. And it seems to me Jennifer and her union thug pal Eric Blanchet from the AFT are the ones we should be concerned about when it comes to safety.
For the straight dope, I turned to Mike Antonucci who provided the details on the situation from the Lowell Sun:
The head of Chelmsford’s teachers’ union has been placed on paid administrative leave following an altercation between a state-level union official and Superintendent of Schools Jay Lang on Wednesday.
Police escorted Jennifer Salmon, Chelmsford Federation of Teachers president, and Eric Blanchet, field representative for the American Federation of Teachers, out of Harrington School following the incident.
So let me get this straight. From what I can piece together from the newspaper account and the police report, the union wanted to discuss a situation regarding a first grade teacher and a student.… RIGHT NOW.
So, Union President Jennifer leaves her third grade classroom and rolls up on the administration with a union thug demanding to be seen — who then gets into a physical altercation with the Superintendent of the Chelmsford Public Schools in the HALLWAY OF AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WHILE CLASS IS IN SESSION.
And you want me to sign a petition asking the CPS to reinstate her and apologize for what exactly?
When kids fight in school, they get SUSPENDED. Sometimes even expelled.
Here’s the thing: We don’t care who is getting pissy in the relationship between unions and the administration. I don’t send my kids to school so they can witness fist fights between grown adults. For any reason.
In addition, the union perspective presented here is another utterly fascinating exercise in organizational narcissism. “I have a job to do.”
You’ll notice that in virtually every situation regarding schools, the teachers union views itself as literally the most important stakeholder in all things. Not the students. Not parents and families. We are just all inconsequential bit players to their starring role.
So the job of the union representative to whine to the principal about having their “issues” addressed immediately trumps everything else?
Which leads me to a couple of other questions as well:
Via email, Salmon initially requested a meeting Harrington Interim Principal Patricia Tobin, Director of Student Support Services Amy Reese, and Patricia Doherty, the school’s special-education chair, to discuss a situation involving a first-grade student and teacher.
Salmon was told she is not entitled to confidential student-related information as head of the teachers’ union, nor entitled to the discussion because the first-grader is not under her direct care. District officials said at the time they would be willing to meet with the student’s teacher.
Does the union really believe they have the right to a child’s private information? Who authorized THAT exactly?
As a patient, if you go to a union-organized hospital, does the union have a right to see your health information? Do they have the right to send representation and a union rep to request your medical records regarding a meeting you have with your doctor if it includes a nurse they represent in their union? Do they get a seat at the table and a voice in your care?
Of course not. That would be completely inappropriate.
If I was the parent in question, I likely would have lost my mind — and I would guess that the parent probably has no idea that the union wants their child’s private information. IEP meetings are tough enough as it is — filled with tons of edu-jargon and intimidating “experts” who have a lot of power over the future of my child and what happens to them in the classroom. Based on my own personal experience, having the head of special ed and the principal brought into the situation would indicate that something was going VERY WRONG with this particular IEP situation between the parent and teacher that required additional mediation kicked up to this level.
But let’s make it very clear: a student’s IEP or record is NOT a labor negotiation and it would be completely inappropriate for union representatives to be present in the meeting. For any reason. At no time does a parent authorize their child’s personal information (and in the case of a special needs student, at times personal medical and psychological information) with a random LABOR UNION representative to be openly discussed. That’s just insanity.
But the impropriety doesn’t stop THERE, folks!
Salmon then requested a second meeting and said she would be at the school at 8 a.m. Wednesday with Blanchet, the state union representative. However, on Wednesday, Tobin refused to meet. She told police that Blanchet became visibly upset and began shouting and pointing his finger at her face.
Tobin left the room but left her cellphone behind, and Blanchet allegedly picked it up, telling Tobin’s secretary she could “come get it herself.”
So let’s get REALLY clear here: The AFT field representative, Eric Blanchet, who is NOT an educator, but a representative of the union, not only showed up at the school uninvited, but then threw a temper tantrum when the principal would not meeting with him THAT MINUTE, stole her cell phone and then committed an assault and battery on the Superintendent of Schools.
In the hallway of an elementary school that was currently in session.
So why isn’t Union President Jennifer in her classroom this morning? Because she chose to leave her wonderful third grade classroom to engage in Grade A Union Thuggery with a dude from her union in her role as the President of the Chelmsford Teachers Association.
Did Union President Jennifer stick her finger in the face of Principal Tobin and assault the Superintendent of Schools in the hallway? No. But as the HEAD OF THE UNION, she called in the pitbull and stood next to him while he went on the attack. Is Union President Jennifer an accomplice to these things? I’d say yes.
So instead of spinning fantasy narratives around the injustice of Union President Jennifer’s administrative leave because of her participation and endorsement of this behavior, during the school day, by her union thugs from the AFT, what we should actually be doing today is asking is whether Eric Blanchet has been placed on administrative leave from the American Federation of Teachers for consideration of possible disciplinary action for unprofessional conduct, physically intimidating a school principal, (who is a WOMAN by the way) committing an assault and battery against a Superintendent of Schools — and engaging in this conduct while representing the union …
… AT AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN FRONT OF CHILDREN.
I’d also like to see the Chelmsform Public Schools slap this dude with a trespass order that keeps him away from the school because as a parent, I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR MY CHILD TO WITNESS AN ASSAULT AND BATTERY WHILE ATTENDING SCHOOL.
So no, AFT — I mean, Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance — I won’t be signing your little petition.
But maybe we should start one?
“Keep Union Thugs from Attacking School Leaders in Front of Our Children.”