Billings Teachers Union Blasts SD2 Officials After Threat Letter
If you thought the teachers union in Billings was going to sit down, shut up, and wear their masks, think again. Here was the headline from KTVQ-TV: "Billings teachers union promises response to district mask mandate."
Last week, most of the parents who attended the School District 2 school board meeting expected the district to mandate masks, despite the overwhelming opposition from parents and taxpayers. But once the teachers union said no to masks for teachers and classified staff, the district said masks would not be required.
That was last Thursday. Then, over the weekend the district concocted a last-minute excuse to force masks in the schools anyway. And the teachers are ticked.
The Billings Education Association is now saying that the SD2 superintendent and the school board are in violation of a signed agreement with the teachers. Here's an excerpt from their memo (read it in full at the Q2 link above):
Our issue lies with the Superintendent’s disregard of teachers’ voices and our contractual language. Montanans honor their word, and the Superintendent and School Board Trustees have failed to do so by continually violating signed agreements. Additionally, the severity of the memo sent to staff by Superintendent Upham was inappropriate and insulting, especially following years of collaboration and concessions made by the BEA.
The bottom line is that Billings school teachers are now outraged over a letter sent by the SD2 superintendent the day before the first day of school. In the letter, SD2 Superintendent Greg Upham warned teachers would face retribution and retaliation if they failed to enforce the mask mandate in the schools. At least three teachers have already been suspended according to Q2 and the Gazette.
The reaction I got from one teacher on Monday morning was basically this: instead of sending a nice letter thanking the teachers for their hard work and welcoming them into a brand new school year, the district basically sent out a threat letter to teachers on the eve of the first day of school. It is not sitting well, and apparently, the union is planning to take additional actions in the days ahead.
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