Saturday, August 29, 2015

Striking Neshaminy teachers report death threat

Picketing teachers also have had cars swerve at them and eggs and curses hurled at them, the union says.

Striking Neshaminy teachers report death threat

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The striking Neshaminy teachers’ union has reported a death threat to one of its members and physical and verbal attacks on others as they picket outside schools, leaders said Tuesday.

The death threat was posted by a student on Facebook over the weekend, union President Louise Boyd said in a written statement. “Screen shots” of the threat have been given to police and the school district, she said.

A secondary school teacher reported the death threat to Superintendent Louis Muenker on Sunday, and requested anonymity, school board President Ritchie Webb said. The teacher’s email was forwarded to the district’s attorneys, he said.

“It didn’t happen on school grounds, but we look out for the safety of our teachers,” Webb said.

The union also has reported incidents of cars swerving at teachers who were picketing outside the district’s 13 schools Monday, on the first day of their strike over a four-year contract impasse. Eggs and other items were thrown at teachers by passing motorists, in addition to verbal taunts, according to the union statement.

“Things are getting out of hand,” Boyd said.  “There’s no justification for anyone doing what they did to our members yesterday.”

Because of the threats, the union advised its 633 teachers, guidance counselors, librarians and nurses to skip the school board’s public meeting Tuesday night.

The strike has forced the cancellation of classes, extending the school year up to two weeks, and the meeting had been expected to be heated.

The teachers have been working without a raise for four years, under terms of the expired contract that the board says it can no longer afford.

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About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at cpalmer@phillynews.com, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, FactCheck.org and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at bfinley@phillynews.com, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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