On December 13, 2013, NBEA held a meeting to discuss the pervasive problems
plaguing our school system. Some of the topics discussed at this meeting
included reports from our members regarding the following:
· Micromanagement by administration
· Open contract violations by administrators
· Numerous teacher termination hearings
· Multiple teacher suspensions
· Unrealistic goals developed by administrators
· Educator evaluations that are being used as punitive rather than
constructive tools for professional development
· Significant increase in number and variability of grievances
brought to the union
· Notably increased assaults on educators by students without
· Reports of long term emotional distress among our members resulting in
increased referrals to the Employee Assistance Program and area physicians
As a result of this meeting, a District Climate Task Force was created to
summarize member concerns and present them to the Superintendent. This process
was conducted over several meetings and the Task Force ultimately submitted
these issues in writing and requested a written response to each from Dr.
Durkin. Members received an e-mail copy of the concerns and the
Superintendent’s responses on April 1.
More recently, one of our members at the high school was assaulted by a student
who threw a chair across her desk, nearly missing her. This incident was
captured on cell phone video and subsequently posted on the internet. The
student was reprimanded appropriately (arrested) only after the video was made
public. This same teacher is now facing disciplinary action and possible
termination from her teaching position.
As a direct result of recent events, we feel it is imperative to meet
collectively to determine if our concerns, particularly assaults, were
reasonably and fairly addressed by the administration.
The General Meeting will take place on Friday, May 2, at 3:15 P.M. in the Keith
Middle School Auditorium. Unit A Members may enter the auditorium as early as
We encourage all members to re-read the responses sent to the NBEA by Dr. Durkin
prior to attending the meeting. It is our hope to have an open discussion to
determine the effectiveness of Dr. Durkin’s plan to decrease the “climate of
fear” that remains prevalent at all levels of the NBPS.
The Board of Directors and Faculty Representatives implore every member,
system-wide, to participate on Friday, May 2nd. Once again, your attendance at
this meeting is critical, because our solidarity and the strength of our
collective voice are the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to instill
In unity there is strength.
Very Truly Yours,
Board of Directors
New Bedford Educators Association