The head of Chelmsford’s teachers’ union has been placed on paid administrative leave following an altercation between a state-level union official and Superintendent of Schools Jay Lang on Wednesday.
Police escorted Jennifer Salmon, Chelmsford Federation of Teachers president, and Eric Blanchet, field representative for the American Federation of Teachers, out of Harrington School following the incident.
Blanchet told me that he had come to the school early this morning to have a meeting with (school principal) Tobin regarding ongoing issues in the teachers union. When he was told the meeting would not be happening he grew upset, and began to ask the principal why. When I told him that his actions were unacceptable in a public school during school hours, he replied with “Well, I have a job to do!”
Police interview with Principal Tobin:
Blanchet came into her office and demanded a meeting, and when she told him she would not entertain this today, he grew enraged and began to shout at Tobin. As Tobin continued to deny Eric his meeting he walked very close to her and began to point his index finger at her face while shouting; Tobin told me that she felt threatened during this time.
Detective observed altercation with superintendent on school security camera:
He told me that it appeared that during Blanchet’s “discussion” with Lang, he put his hands on Lang 2-3 times.
When police attempted to explain to Blanchet “the ridiculousness of his actions on an active school day,” he continuously replied that he had “a job to do.” Police told him he could have been charged with assault and battery on Lang and assault on Tobin.
Superintendent Lang told police that the Blanchet’s hands on him were “incidental” and then he did not wish to press charges.
AFT Massachusetts did not comment, and there is no word on what action, if any, was taken regarding Blanchet.