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UPDATE: NFT President Prevails in Harassment Charge Challenge

NFT President Louise Boyd prevailed in a challenge to a harassment charge leveled by the Neshaminy School District. NSB President Ritchie Webb responds.

Neshaminy Federation of Teachers President Louise Boyd prevailed in a harassment charge challenge from the Neshaminy School District this week.

According to an NFT-issued press release, the "battle" began in September 2010 when the school district alleged that Boyd harassed a high school teacher who declined to honor the union’s “work to contract” action and participated in the district’s “Back To School Night” program.

Further, the district alleged that Boyd violated Neshaminy School Board Policy when when she and another union representative met with the teacher to "ascertain if the teacher felt unjustly pressured by the district to attend Back To School Night."

Arbitrator Anthony Visco, Jr. found that Boyd did not harass the teacher, who's name was witheld, on or about September 30, 2012 or at any other time. This ruling, according to the press release, did not surprise the NFT leaders.

“Knowing all the facts, we were 100 percent confident the arbitrator would find in Louise’s favor,” NFT Vice-President Anne Schmidt said in the press release.

Schmidt went on to say that the harassment charge was "erroneous" and "absurd" and that "the district that is doing whatever it can to harass the NFT."

Boyd said she is relieved the grievance procedure is complete and that the arbitrator found in her favor on all counts.

“This is yet another example of what we’ve been saying for the past four years,” Boyd said.

“There’s a reason we don’t have a contract – It is ‘entrenched opposition’ to a fair settlement on the part of the district. We’ve shown in each of our proposals that there are many ways we can reach a contract but they seem blind to those realities—instead they say ‘take it or leave it.’  We’re not willing to throw our membership under the bus when we know the district can do better. We urge the district to stop wasting our time and the taxpayer’s dollars with their endless litany of nonsense,” Boyd said.

However, Neshaminy School Board President Ritchie Webb said that it is the case that the arbitrator concluded that the discipline imposed on Boyd was not to be upheld.

"The arbitrator noted that Ms. Boyd confronted a staff member in a manner that was 'intense'  and that 'she spoke in a firm tone of voice,' 'admonishing the staff member not to attend back-to-school night.'  The decision also recognized that the exchange between Ms. Boyd and the staff member was about Ms. Boyd’s efforts to maintain the union’s 'working to rule strategy,'" Webb said in a statement.

According to Webb, the school district "reluctantly" accepts the results of this decision, "but remains committed to doing all that it can to protect staff members who complain about any form of intimidation. It also remains committed to opposing any union tactic that harms students as it believes work to rule does."

Webb said that it is his view that the NFT press release about the challenge "is nothing more than campaign literature for  designed to make Ms. Boyd look good."

"The bigger issue for the district remains the impasse in negotiations created by the unreasonable demands by the current union leadership," Webb said.

William April 25, 2012 at 08:09 PM
So, Ms. Boyd was "intense" and spoke in a "firm tone of voice" while she was "admonishing" the teacher for not honoring WTC. But that's not harassment according to the arbitrator. Also remember that the teacher did not request this meeting but instead Ms. Boyd and another union leader found this teacher and confronted her when she should have been teaching students. The CBA notes that meeting with teachers during the school day cannot occur unless consent is given by administration. In the meantime, the NFT is boasting Ms. Boyd's innocence in all this and is asking for an apology. Does she seem innocent to you? If an apology is due, shouldn't it be Ms. Boyd apologizing to the teacher for upsetting her, and ultimately causing her to miss two class periods as a result of this inappropriate meeting?
Robert Connor April 25, 2012 at 09:46 PM
I would like Ms. Boyd and the NFT to apologize publicly to my daughter for the two cruel job-actions that they imposed on her and also for the worthless strike they instituted last year that locked her out of her classroom, they alone are responsible for her not recieving the education that she is entitled to...I won't hold my breath!
John April 26, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Wow what a contradiction!!! Not harassment but the conforntation was in an intense manner with a firm tone of voice, admonishing the staff member not to attend back-to-school night. But the NSB is not living in reality??? Come on. The NFT needs to wake up and stop this nonsense. Get back to teaching, step into the economic realities of this district and realize that the offer that WAS presented to you WAS a good offer. One that needs to be pulled and reduced!!!
Linda Sheridan April 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM
This is such and outrage and sickens me. Is everyone on the take? Does anyone have any morals. Only the Nesh teachers can fix this. They must oust the Boyd-ers and vote for real teachers NOW. This handful of Boyd-ers is taking down the reputation of a once stellar school district. I am beyond appalled. Ritchie Webb deserves a Medal of Honor, along with the other board members subjected to this disgusting display of so-call professionals who are so highly compensated. Ritchie, I wish you could run for President! NFT - Save our schools and get the Boyders OUT once and for all!
Lori Ferrara Wentzel April 26, 2012 at 12:18 PM
I thought intimidation was harassment. Sends a clear message that bullying is acceptable. Greed and corruption taking down Neshaminy's once great reputation.
Lori Ferrara Wentzel April 26, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Robert my heart goes out to your daughter.
Lori Ferrara Wentzel April 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM
No truer words spoken.
HAD IT April 26, 2012 at 01:14 PM
How totally pathetic that this ruling was announced MONTHS ago at a school board meeting by Mr. Webb, but the NFT chose the day before their elections to provide the media with this "Breaking Story". Is this truly how desparate the NFT leadership is to try to retain Louise, that they'll use old news like it's new to try to garner sympathy for the poor, misjudged teacher? PLEASE, give us some credit, the current NFT leadership runs by intimidation and fear. There is NO representation for teachers who are NOT at the top of the salary scale. IF THEY ARE SMART the NFT will seek out NEW leadership who are interested in ALL of their membership, which means ENDING this ridiculous impass. If they are sheep, they will stay in the same position they're in until they bankrupt the district.
Linda Sheridan April 26, 2012 at 01:28 PM
This is Ritchie Webb & David & TO all the REAL Neshaminy teachers- Martha Beck quote defines Ritchie Webb and David, and non-boyders: Just as a truly courageous person is someone who knows fear but acts bravely in spite of it, a truly forgiving person is someone who experiences all the anger merited by injustice and still acts with fairness and compassion. --Martha Beck- O Magazine- December, 2001 Vote out the Boyd people and save our Neshaminy schools.
feasterville resident April 26, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Ms Boyd, you stop wasting our time and the taxpayer's dollars. A fair offer was given to the NFT who chose not to accept. As a taxpayer, I can not afford a tax increase. I have had to dramatically cut back on my spending. I am self employeed with no job security and I pay my own medical insurance. My security, is having repeat satisfied customers or referrals. I am not satisfied with the the performance of the district. The test scores have plummeted over the last few years. Teachers have not shown up to back to school night. Minimum effort has been shown by teachers with students. I have seen this. I have children in two schools of the district. Now we should award you for this lack-luster performance. Some teacher are great, but are fearful of the tactics that you and your cohorts have displayed. You and your cohorts need to be ousted and true professionals need to fill you spot. Professional who got into teaching for the good of the children, not the greed of a few.
William April 26, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I guess arbitrators don't have a zero tolerance policy for bullying.
Linda Sheridan April 26, 2012 at 01:49 PM
The arbitrators and whoever support the boyd-ers and they, themselves have no souls, obviously. I am creatively visualizing this headline "BOYD & HER CRONIES ARE VOTED OUT" Neshaminy will regain their status as a school district to be proud of. Let's all visualize this- there is vast power in thought and prayers. The more, the better.
Jerry H April 26, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Today's election is the last chance for the good teachers of our district to stand up and vote out their utterly terrible leadership and replace them with (hopefully) competent representation. If they do not - they will do irreparable harm to their reputation & the community will lose all respect for them. I find those NFT lawn signs very ironic - "Reach a fair contract now!" - well, you have a very fair contract on the table from the board - ACCEPT THE FAIR CONTRACT NOW!
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