Here’s a story that I wanted to break last night, but because I only heard 2/3 of the story when the 2 teachers went on the radio, I decided to hold off until a newspaper article was printed, so I could catch the whole story.
The husband and wife teachers, Steve Conn and Heather Miller are suing the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) “to finally put an end to the Detroit Board of Education’s witch hunt against them.” They claim that they “have had to endure” a “yearlong attack … at the hands of the board and DPS administration and [violations of] their First Amendment rights of free speech.”
The pair was accused of allowing students to be put in danger during a protest against school closings that the pair participated in at Northern High School in May of 2007, according to (at the time) school board president Carla Scott. DPS spokesman Steve Wasko said, “These are two individuals who knowingly and against parental permission took children out of school and put their safety at risk.”
Doyle O’Connor, an administrative law judge for the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, ordered DPS “to cease interfering with employees’ rights to pursue grievances, hold union office or participate in lawful public protests.” (Source: Detroit News)
DPS ignored that ruling and fired the teachers, who had previously been placed on administrative leave.
One quote that I did get while listening to the radio (WJR 760) was from Steve Conn: “DPS is not above the law. They must follow the judge’s order and put us back into the classroom. This is going to end up costing the district millions of dollars it simply cannot afford, all because a few board members want to silence us and stop us from exposing the conditions in the schools.”
And I ABSOLUTELY agree. This is the reason that DPS is broke. It’s people like Connie Calloway who refuse to admit when they’ve made a mistake (or when they’re wrong), and they’re driving the system into the ground. They waste money on stupid court cases like this. So they go more into debt, meaning that they cut more schools and teachers, meaning that more kids leave, so they get less money, so they go more into debt…
It’s a cycle that’s never going to end until Detroit as a whole gets its act together and shapes up. Either that or annex it to Oakland County, give L. Brooks Patterson sole control over it (so no Detroit government whatsoever), but Detroiters would never go for that “because people like Kwame are our friends.” Bull crap. Half the Detroiters (the half that reelected Kwame after all the scandals he had in his first term), DESERVE what’s happening now.
Tags: Amendment, Carla Scott, Connie Calloway, Court, Court Case, Detroit, Detroit Board of Education, Detroit Public Schools, Doyle O'Connor, DPS, Education, First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Heather Miller, Judge, L. Brooks Patterson, Lawsuit, Michigan, Michigan Employment Relations Commission, Money, Northern High School, Oakland County, Protestors, School, School Board, School Closings, Steve Conn, Steve Wasko, Students, Teacher, Teachers