MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The Montclair teachers union is unhappy because the school board took away their president’s normal speaking slot at school board meetings and gave her three minutes to talk at the end of meetings, just like other citizens.
So the teachers showed up to Monday’s board meeting to protest the move. They reportedly shouted, clapped and took turns at the podium repeating the same angry points, all of which caused the meeting to last more than five hours.
That’s precisely the type of obnoxious behavior that caused the school board to make the change in the first place.
School board president Robin Kullwin told NorthJersey.com that the board took away the designated union speaking time due to complaints from parents who said they were “intimidated” by the “atmosphere created” by unionists at board meetings.
As the news report put it, “Teachers frequently cheer union speakers and residents who voice support for the MEA positions, and often boo or try to should down board members and parents who disagree.”
Those are bully tactics, and they have no place in a public meeting where everyone has the right to express opinions without being treated in a hostile manner.
Teachers union President Gayl Shepard said the board’s decision is “the equivalent of asking the MEA to sit in the back of the bus.”
Hardly. The board is simply asking the unruly union to fill the seats on the bus reserved for everyday citizens. Union officials will get the chance to speak at every meeting, just like everyone else. That’s not “back of the bus” treatment. That’s equal treatment.
If the unionists want special treatment and a reserved spot on the agenda, they need to first prove that they’re civilized and mature enough to handle that privilege.
Acting like a bunch of unruly fourth-graders won’t get it done.
By Steve Gunn at EAGnews.org