Sunday, April 09, 2006

Washington Post: Teachers 'harassed, muzzled, threatened' for bucking MCPS

MCPS officials reportedly have threatened Bells Mill Elementary School teachers for speaking out against respiratory health hazards portable classrooms.

The portables have been the MCPS answer to the county's uncontrolled growth over the past dozen years or more.

The Washington Post reports: "Teachers who have spoken up about air quality in their classrooms say they have been harassed, muzzled and threatened with reassignment.

"All three fifth-grade teachers found anonymous notes in their boxes last month, advising, 'You need to keep your mouth shut,'" according to the Post. "[Principal Jerri] Oglesby called the missives 'disgusting' and said her teachers have not been silenced."

The report fits a pattern of MCPS bullying against teachers and school system officials who have been critical of the controversial Kendale project and other policies.

In February, a retired MCPS teacher wrote a stinging article in the Gazette, in which she decried a "culture of intimidation" by "bully" superintendents and their minions in the system.

The hazardous portable classrooms are the result of conscious MCPS policy to pack public schools with kids, without adequate long-term planning. Some 17,000 MCPS students are forced to study in portables.

MCPS has an official Harassment or Intimidation (Bullying) Report Form to document incidents. The form is intended for students, but citizens are urging harassed teachers and other MCPS employees, as well as parents, to use the form to report bullying from public officials. For a copy, click here.