Troubled by changes to school policy

 

To the Editor,

I have been a member of the Amery School Board for several years. It has been a privilege serving the students and dedicated staff of our outstanding school district.

Several people have questioned me about November’s School Board action on changing the Support Staff Handbook. As of that action, “If the District Administrator is the object of the complaint, then the employee should report directly to the President of the Board, who then reports to the rest of the board.” Before the action, an employee could go to any member of the board.

The Amery School District has two handbooks for staff to reference. One is the Certified Staff Handbook and the other is the Support Staff Handbook. Handbooks give guidance for all staff explaining procedures, protections and protocol. The Certified Staff Handbook is for administrators and teaching staff who have contracts with the district. The Support Staff Handbook is for “at will” employees with no specific contract. Both handbooks have the same section on workplace protection, and had the same language, yet only the Support Staff Handbook was changed. Why?

Over the past several months I have been approached by school staff with concerns which I brought before the board, following handbook guidelines. Several board members and the district administrator felt I was wrong to be involved in these communications and that follow up investigations were not necessary. I believe it is the board’s responsibility per the handbook to investigate any concerns brought to us by an employee.

The change to the Support Staff Handbook is not bad timing. It is an effort to restrict support staff access to the board. Now if they come to any board member but the president, they can be disciplined. I am adamantly opposed to the action of the board because of its retaliatory and discriminatory consequences. Hopefully, my position on these matters are supported by the staff and constituents who elected me to serve on the school board.

The Warrior Way means respect, responsibility and safety for all.

 

Keith Anderson

Amery School Board Vice President

 

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