Bill Hood Topper 2018
Monday, August 19, 2019
Bill Hood Ford 2019
NOMC 2019 Endo
Mack: Westmoreland 2019
Classes go on despite "walkout" at PJHS Thursday

Classes go on despite "walkout" at PJHS Thursday

Author: Action News 17/Thursday, May 9, 2019/Categories: Front Page, Latest Stories

Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa Stilley said Thursday that classes were in session at Ponchatoula Jr. High even though several teachers staged a walkout from their classrooms in protest of a personnel decision last week involving two former teachers at that campus.

Stilley said reports suggest approximately nine teachers out of the 43 member faculty took personal leave to walk away from their assignments at PJHS Thursday morning.

Shortly after 8 a.m., representatives of the Tangipahoa Federation of Teachers union issued a media release announcing a teacher walkout at PJHS. The release states, "Following the dismissal of two Ponchatoula Junior High School teachers, faculty are walking out on Thursday, May 9, to protest the lack of transparent expectations for teachers and support staff when breaking up fights. Tangipahoa currently has no policy which explains what teachers must do or must not do when a fight breaks out in their presence at school. In these instances, the safety of faculty and students are at risk, and situations can escalate quickly. Teachers and support staff must make hasty decisions about how to intervene in a way that protects the children involved, bystanders and themselves without any proper guidance or training. Teachers are demanding that the School Board provide all school staff with a policy that clearly articulates an appropriate protocol. The school board’s failure to act on this issue puts the safety of everyone in schools at risk."
“Our members are telling us that they will no longer physically intervene to break up a fight” said Dina Esquinance, President of Tangipahoa Federation of Teachers. “They aren’t going to stand and watch. They will certainly use their voices, they’ll send a student to the office to get help, they’ll use the intercom to request help, they’ll yell down the hallway, but they simply aren’t going to become physically involved any longer. They cannot afford to.”

“I completely understand the frustration we all have about how to handle disrespectful and violent students. I understand that our teachers and principals want to be protected, supported and respected by the administration. At the same time, as we were making these very difficult and unpopular employment decisions, we were and will continue working very hard on real solutions to the ensure the safety of our students and employees on all of our campuses. We must hold all students accountable for their inappropriate behavior, but we must do so within the clear boundaries we have set for our employees,” Stilley said.

Stilley said she and the board have publicly acknowledged the district will develop new policies and procedures for handling violence on school campuses and those guidelines will be in place for the new school year.

But union members are questioning the veracity of that plan. “All over the country, teachers are leaving this great profession because our opinions aren’t respected, and we are not respected. We love teaching. That is why we do this. But we deserve respect and we deserve for our opinions to be considered. This is a huge concern because it involves having quality teachers and qualified teachers in every classroom. We are on the front-line and we weren’t even asked our opinions” said Simone Ingram, a teacher at Ponchatoula Junior High who participated in the walkout.

The release from the TFT indicated teachers will return to work on Friday, May 10. They say they hope to see progress from the School Board in developing a policy and training program that will protect students and educators moving forward.

Number of views (4765)/Comments (0)

Rosaryville Cemetary
ACF Right Rec
Addington Chiro 2019 Green outdoors
Driver Blue 2019
FP Arena 2019