NBC10Philadelphia.com - Rosemary Connors
Frustrated parents offered their support to the School Board in the Neshaminy teachers strike. They told members of the Board that they're fed up with the teachers' demands. Teachers didn't show up for the meeting, saying they're concerned for their safety. Teachers say one of their own has received a death threat and educators have become targets of acts of violence. Authorities are investigating.
The Neshaminy Federation of Teachers did not attend a school board meeting Tuesday night. The union claims there have been numerous acts of violence against teachers, including verbal threats, cars swerving at them as well as eggs and other items thrown at them from cars. They also say a death threat targeting a teacher was posted on Facebook over the weekend.
NFT President Louise Boyd released the following statement regarding the alleged violence:
Things are getting out of hand. There’s no justification for anyone doing what they did to our members yesterday. We’ve said time and again that the Neshaminy School Board has looked the other way as teachers are denigrated during school board meetings and on social media sites. Now we have a death threat made by a student against a named teacher, and the district has done nothing in response. We notified the police and provided both the police and the district with website ‘screen shots’ of the death threat against a teacher over the weekend and we still have not heard a single word in response from the district. The lack of any reaction from district officials is totally irresponsible.
A Neshaminy school board meeting took place tonight at 7 p.m. at Maple Point. The union did not attend.
“We don’t believe the district understands the repercussions of its inaction,” said NFT Vice President Anne Schmidt. “We’re concerned that someone is going to get hurt if district leaders don’t step up and speak out against this kind of behavior. Their silence is a clear signal they are not concerned about the welfare of their employees.”
The Neshaminy teachers continue to battle with the school district over an expired contract, a dispute that first began in 2008. The teachers went on a 9-day strike back in January and began another strike on Monday. The teachers tell NBC10 the main sticking points are retirement, healthcare and salary.
Plenty of parents attended Tuesday's meeting, voicing their frustration with the strike.
"Teachers are paid fairly," said Lisa Piento, a parent of a student in the district. "Sure they deserve increases as we all do. But I haven't had a raise in 18 months and I work for a major hospital in Bucks County."
"My opinion is they have to come back to school first," said School Board member Mike Morris. "Then they can come back to the negotiating table."