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Melrose Teachers Furious at SC Deselm's Insults & Show up En Masse as MEA to Express Indignation

While Deselm apologized (as she should have for her stupidity and anti-teacher arrogance), what didn't get said is that Taymore is not a friend of the teachers, though she made herself out to be the good guy in this instance. CT is only out for herself and has caused a thoroughly toxic environment for teachers in Melrose. But this large showing of the MEA was disingenuous for a lot of other reasons besides. Where were all of them when the president of their union told a METCO student to "go back to the plantation"? Answer: They couldn't have cared less. In fact they voted that same teacher back in as the president of their union after that openly racist behavior (it wasn't just one instance). Where was their indignation when one of their own, a beloved art teacher, was fired by CT (in both of these instances fully supported by the equally nasty school committee) for not "separating the students of color" from sitting together? Answer: Absent, they couldn't have cared less. And to be fair to Deselm (though her stupidity and arrogance is staggering), many parents and even students have voiced concerns over many years about the lack of dedication and professionalism by too many (certainly not all, since most are dedicated!) teachers & administrators who could not care less about delivering the full, legally required measure of education ("time in learning"), as is easily observable in the first and last weeks of the school year, when movies are assigned for in-class time, teachers (and many if not most administrators) are routinely absent, and clearly many are just marking time. That being said, the school committee deserves every bit of grief that was dished out to them publicly, and then some. It was just creepy to see CT trying to cash in as the great defender of "her" teachers (NOT!) or "her" students (even more NOT). Then there was the astounding silence of the rest of the school committee/mayor and its extremely creepy chair during this whole undignified display, followed by their hideously gross self-congratulatory tear-jerker session. It's all so depressing, especially watching the 3 new ones joining in the grossness.
Melrose teachers object to School Committee remarks
Posted at 8:16 AM Updated at 8:16 AM

Melrose teachers attended Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting en masse, to register their opposition to remarks made at the committee’s Nov. 28 meeting. At that time, during a discussion of a proposed alternate snow day policy, committee member Lizbeth DeSelm appeared to question the diligence and honesty of Melrose teachers.

DeSelm asked whether, under the proposed policy, teachers would put in the effort to assemble homework assignments in advance, in case of snow days. Superintendent Cyndy Taymore answered that they would, “Because they’re honorable people, and they’re professionals.”

DeSelm responded, “I want to believe that, I really do. I want to believe everybody’s honorable. I want to believe everybody’s a professional. But...everybody lies.”

Taymore was visibly upset by the remark, and said, “I’m having a lot of difficulty with that statement about staff, about adults. If the union says to me, ‘We’re committed to this and we will help you make this happen, I have to believe them, because if I do not have trust with them, we get nothing done. So I’m having a really hard time right now with that statement.’”

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, DeSelm apologized for those remarks.

Teachers respond

The following is a statement read by union president Lisa Donovan Tuesday night:

While the MEA appreciates the public apology, please note that this statement was written prior to the apology and still needs to be shared.

Good Evening. My name is Lisa Donovan, president of the Melrose Education Association, the local union chapter of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.

At the last school committee meeting on November 28th, derogatory remarks were made targeting educators in the district. One remark stereotyped all educators in the district calling into question the integrity of educators; while the other was a disrespectful comment that was a passive-aggressive remark aimed toward educators. While the remarks fell on the ears of a limited audience at the time, the reverberating effects of those remarks have been far reaching.

I am here tonight to not only express the deep disappointment on behalf of the MEA, but also to address repairing the relationship between the MEA and the elected policy makers of the school committee.

Over the past few years, a concerted effort on the part of the union has been made to be a collaborative partner when problem-solving. The remarks made are counterproductive to this collaborative effort. According to the school committee’s website page, under the section “SC Negotiations Goals,” it states, “The Committee recognizes that education is a public trust. When negotiating, this objective is considered most attainable when there is a climate of mutual understanding and collaboration between the negotiating parties in the interest of student achievement.” The MEA would like to challenge the school committee members to work harder toward this goal and would welcome the opportunity to partner with them to achieve this.

Back in early September, I requested a seat for the MEA on the school committee much like the student reps. Working together in this manner could factor in to the school committee’s most recent self-assessment being shared tonight. I am still awaiting a response from the school committee chair to this request.

Having a member or two of the MEA present at each school committee meeting could help to foster a better working relationship with the school committee on a regular basis and improve communication between the MEA and the school committee.

Potentially, questions could have been asked by the school committee members and answered by MEA members on the topic of the School Cancellation Project at the last meeting, which perhaps could have avoided the inappropriate remarks altogether. I am confident that a response to the accountability of educators in the district on snow day under the proposed School Cancellation Project would have yielded a response similar to this: Educators work from home long after the school day ends throughout the year going above and beyond what is contractually obligated; this is not any different on a snow day under the current policy of making up the days at the end of the school year and would not change with the proposed School Cancellation Project. In fact, when an impending storm is forecasted, educators pack their bags with extra materials to take home. I personally have witnessed this, as well as done this myself. Educators take full advantage of the opportunity, the gift of time, presented when trapped inside on a snowy day. Let’s not forget the fact that teachers also have to shovel themselves out just like everyone else because teachers are people, too. Another foreseeable benefit to the MEA’s presence at meetings would be to help promote transparency.

Currently, complete transparency exists in the work that the MEA is doing – such as the October Educator/Parent Forum that had an ultimate goal of partnering with the community and the school committee to work toward the schools that the Melrose Community deserves. The MEA intends to hold another forum in the spring to continue this important work with the community and the school committee.

Let’s not lose sight of why educators are motivated and driven by anything and everything - the students who sit in front of them on a daily basis. Educators are not unlike the elected school committee members who do not always agree on issues, but ultimately rally for the benefit of all students. After all, it is hard to argue with the fact that better working conditions for educators translate into better learning conditions for students. Honoring and valuing input from educators in the district fosters this positive environment. Although differences may surface in ways to reach this goal, the end goal is the same – better learning outcomes for all students. The hard-working educators in the district who have demonstrated dedication, innovation, collaboration and excellence should be lauded for their efforts, not publically accused of untruths. The Melrose

Community and the educators in the district trust that as elected policy makers, pure motives are at the heart of each decision and vote that is cast. All that the educators are asking for is that same consideration.

Across the district, educators reinforce the concept of not being a silent bystander; the MEA would like to extend its gratitude to Superintendent Taymore for not being a silent bystander and being the voice to defend the honor of educators in the district that night. Barring an immediate response from an educator at the time the remarks were made, Superintendent Taymore challenged the remarks made and stressed the fact that educators are professional and honorable and that a trust exists between the district and the union.

Let’s move past this disappointing, hopefully isolated, incident and focus our efforts on improving the educational experience for all students. The MEA welcomes the newly elected committee members present tonight and looks forward to a collaborative relationship with the committee. Thank you for your time.

Re: Melrose Teachers Furious at SC Deselm's Insults & Show up En Masse as MEA to Express Indignatio

How will the newly elected SC members respond to the request for Teacher Representation from the MEA? The statement delivered by Lisa Donovan on behalf of the Teachers Union clearly states that this request was made in early September. No action, reaction or decision has been made nearly four months later!Margaret Driscoll in charge! The three newly elected members campaigned on the need for emotional and social learning. They need to start with DeSelm, Driscoll and Felon O'Connell.

Re: Melrose Teachers Furious at SC Deselm's Insults & Show up En Masse as MEA to Express Indignatio

"The three newly elected members campaigned on the need for emotional and social learning. They need to start with DeSelm, Driscoll and Felon O'Connell."


What an abysmal, depressing scene watching the rerun of Tuesday night's SC pro forma (charade) meeting, right down to the nauseating crocodile tears and stupid reiterations of the kid cuteness factor from the presentation (exploitation) of "kiddos" (gross) at the beginning of the meeting. This city should be so embarrassed that this is what residents are putting forward as the body in charge of the school system (but it has no shame or class, so it doesn't even know or care how mortifying and damaging the situation is).

Re: Melrose Teachers Furious at SC Deselm's Insults & Show up En Masse as MEA to Express Indignatio

I would like to point out that more than 12 teachers at the high school where out today, a friday, must be good deals at the mall. my student reports that the sub room and cafeteria where everyone is warehoused when a teacher is out was overflowing with students. There are no subs, sub pay is to low and no learning going on at all, obviously no sub lesson plans being prepared by teachers at the HS which is standard practice in other districts. perhaps SC Deselm has a point.

Re: Melrose Teachers Furious at SC Deselm's Insults & Show up En Masse as MEA to Express Indignatio

Yes, this is correct and do not forget the LC. The 3 million dollar room with kids everywhere drinks and feet up real relaxed. I think the SC Deselm has a point and she always backs down.