Rally for South School
On a frozen Wednesday before the holiday recess, over 130 AEA members, fellow MTA local leaders, parents, community members, and former students rallied at South School in solidarity and support of the faculty. At the close of the contractual day, the South teachers walked out of school (several arm-in-arm) to a roaring crowd shouting “STAND WITH SOUTH!”
Despite having to be rescheduled at the last minute due to Tuesday’s snow day, despite the bitter damp cold, and despite the busy week prior to break, the crowd was strong and unified in support of fellow AEA members at South School who have been the subject of an administrative investigation that the AEA maintains is in reaction to South members organizing to improve their school climate.
Court ruling describes Andover school officials’ actions as ‘troubling’
An Essex Superior Court judge today expressed concerns with the actions by Andover school officials who are conducting a questionable investigation at South Elementary School.
Though the court ruled it could not issue a temporary restraining order against district officials, it would not clear Superintendent Sheldon Berman and South Elementary Principal Tracy Crowley of improperly interfering in the business of the Andover Education Association.
The ruling issued this morning states: “There is certainly evidence of troubling actions by School District officials, including the principal at South Elementary.”
The AEA welcomed the court’s assessment of the difficult work environment for educators at South Elementary.
“The AEA understands the limits of what the court could do in this situation, and the association appreciates the judge’s assessment about the likely harms done to the AEA and its ability to address members’ concerns at South Elementary School,” said AEA President Matthew Bach.
The AEA maintains that Superintendent Berman and Principal Crowley are threatening union members who are organizing for a better work environment at South Elementary. AEA members have been subjected to baseless investigatory interviews, unjust disciplinary actions and surveillance that violates labor law, all in an effort to chill union activity.
The AEA is pursuing unfair labor practice charges at the state Department of Labor Relations, which has fast-tracked a hearing for January.
“We will not allow educators to be intimidated, and AEA members intend to pursue our work aimed at making South Elementary a healthy, well-functioning environment for students, educators and staff,” Bach said.
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