On the plus side, the organizers did everything possible to keep this event the “peaceful protest” that it was billed as. They alerted both district officials and local police of their intentions, and they kept their protest off the main grounds of Maple Point (for the most part). In general, signs were on message and respectful, and there was no loud yelling or jeers from the crowd. This group clearly made their voices heard.
The negatives . . . a small group of the parents did carry their protest right into the main parking lot although the organizers were advised to keep their rally limited to the outer fringes of the property. I don’t know if these few parents didn’t get the message, or perhaps were coaxed onto school grounds by the Fox 29 reporter, who I am told was “disappointed” that the event didn’t take place right outside the main office.
Also of concern to me was the presence of a few younger children at the rally. While I understand that it’s important to teach children the importance of standing up for what you believe in, this is a complex, emotional issue that is very confusing to pre-adolescents. Parents should explain the situation to their child carefully, and the message they give should be much different for a high school student than it is for an elementary schooler. Let’s not have a repeat of last year’s anarchical event undertaken by our Maple Point kids.
Here is the Courier Times recap of yesterday’s rally.
I’m sure you know by now, the Board has officially rejected the NFT’s recent contract offer. As you might expect, the Courier Times editorial board has followed up with another scathing opinion, this one encouraging teachers to “put a leash on the extremists who are leading you astray,” which is a direct reference to NFT leadership.
Also in the Courier is a letter from a local resident who chastizes the editorial board by saying they "unfairly characterize the Neshaminy Federation of Teachers ("NFT") as being "unreasonable amateurs" in their conduct during negotiations with the Neshaminy school board. Nothing could be less accurate."
After 2+ years of talks both sides are still very far apart, and public concerns of a teachers strike grow every day. The good news is that so far the NFT hasn’t even hinted at a possible strike, so while we should be prepared for the worst, we do not necessarily have to expect it. Of course that could change at any moment, but for now we must continue to remain calm and focused.
Just below is last night’s Fox 29 News report from the District offices. And just in case you thought Fox was the only local news station covering Neshaminy, here is a link to a report filed by KYW 1060 News Radio.