It wasn’t a great day for legal proceedings if you are a teacher union fan:
* King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvis set fines of $200 a day for teachers and $1500 a day for the Kent Education Association if the don’t end their illegal strike and return to work. She also had some pointed words for the strikers:
This Court understands that the teachers believe deeply in the positions that they have taken. Nevertheless, violating the law is not the appropriate way to achieve the teachers’ goals. Nor is it the appropriate way to demonstrate for students a respect for our democracy and our justice system…
It is undisputed that the teachers each signed contracts with the Kent School District for the 2009-2010 school year that required them to begin teaching on Aug 31, 2009. The strike is in violation of those contracts.
The law is clear that teachers do not have a right to strike under Washington law. That is why this court granted the School District’s request for an injunction – the strike is unlawful, and it is harming children and their families. Some 26,000 children who should be getting an education in the schools are not being educated. Children and families who rely on the schools for special services are not getting those services. Families who depend on the schools for child care during regular school hours are being forced to scramble to make alternative arrangements for care and supervision of their children. High School seniors who plan to graduate next summer, and who have made or are in the process of making plans for college, have concerns over being able to graduate on time. Classified (non-teacher) employees of the District are not being paid while school is not in session. The longer the strike continues, the greater the degree of harm that is occurring….
Refusal to obey a court order is a sign of disrespect for our free institutions. It is a sign of disrespect for the Court – the very institution of government that exists to protect rights, liberties and access to justice for all people, regardless of their wealth, status or background. It is a poor example to set for the young people who are looking to their teachers as role models for how to behave in a society that is founded on the rule of law.
* A Missouri circuit court judge ruled that the Springfield school district can conduct collective bargaining with multiple representatives of teachers. Missouri NEA argued for exclusive representation. I particularly enjoyed this bit:
“Sally Barker, SNEA attorney, argued the policy is unconstitutional because it allows a minority party to potentially undermine the majority interest.”
I’m pretty sure constitutions enshrine the rights of minority parties to potentially undermine the majority interest.
* In Florida, Collier County Education Association executive director Jonathan Tuttle was arrested and charged with DUI property damage when he flipped his SUV earlier this week. Tuttle claimed he was avoiding a dog in the road, but he failed field sobriety tests and refused a breathalyzer.
* Florida teacher Alexandra Kralik is under investigation for the sixth time in 11 years for physical abuse of a student. This time it’s for forcefully yanking the arm of a kindergartener. The previous five times Kralik received a year’s leave, a written reprimand, a 20-day suspension and an order to attend anger management classes, and two more written reprimands. This time, “a Broward Teachers Union attorney said the union is investigating and Kralik has the right to due process.”