Neshaminy High School teachers who refuse to write any letters of recommendation to colleges on behalf of students could face disciplinary action, according to the district's superintendent. As of now, teachers are writing the letters, but some have done so only after complaints from students and specific direction from principal Rob McGee, officials said Wednesday.
Residents have expressed concern that providing the recommendations would be one of the actions affected by the teachers union's work-to-contract directive - which instructs teachers to work to the letter of their contract to show how much extra they do.
"At some point, the board will realize that bullying the staff and rallying the public is no way to achieve a mutually beneficial end to this dispute," NFT President Louise Boyd said in an e-mail to the newspaper Wednesday. "The certified staff is enduring the board's wrath and the public's anger, none of which seems to serve the students they claim they are worried about or (the) community. It (is) time to stop the posturing and actually begin negotiations."
Superintendent Louis Muenker on Wednesday said that although writing the letters is not specifically included in the teachers' job description in the last contract, he and the board believe that "it comes part and parcel with what teachers should do in their profession."
Muenker said he has not yet discussed with the school board what potential disciplinary actions could be taken against teachers who refuse to write any letters but said it would likely be a progressive approach. Acts of insubordination, he said, are usually dealt first with a letter of warning placed in a teacher's file and, depending on the violation or number of offenses, could eventually lead to a suspension.
"We don't have any semblance right now as to what we'll do if (a teacher) refuses (to write recommendations)," Muenker said. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
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