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Westfield teachers concerned about safety of school environment

February 4, 2016
By David Prenatt (editorial@westfieldrepublican.com) , Westfield Republican

Dozens of teachers wearing union T-shirts from Westfield Academy and Central School District once again attended the Board of Education meeting on Monday, Jan 25, to demonstrate their continuing concern regarding the safety of the school environment.

The teachers first attended the board's Jan 14 meeting, also wearing Westfield Teacher Association T-shirts. At that meeting. WTA president Greg Birner addressed the board stating that: "until recently, the teachers felt that WACS provided a safe, respectful and supportive educational environment for the staff and students."

Birner said that this safety was now in jeopardy. Although he declined to make any further comment about the nature of the jeopardy, he urged the board to discuss the issue in executive session.

Article Photos

Photo by David Prenatt
More than 35 members of the Westfield Teachers’ Association attended the Board of Education meeting Jan. 25.

Due to the sensitivity of the matter, no comments were being issued by either the administration or the teachers' union about what had occurred to create this concern. Sources indicated that it may be related to an episode that occurred prior to Christmas break involving a student.

The board did recess into executive session after the Jan. 14 meeting and also after the Jan. 25 meeting. The reasons given for the Jan 25 executive session were to discuss negotiations with the Instructional Support Staff and to review a decision of the superintendent of schools regarding a student disciplinary matter.

After the executive session, the board passed a resolution extending the suspension of a student, Board members also ratified a 5-year contract with the Instructional Support Staff.

When contacted later, Birner said that the WTA did not intend to address the board at the Jan 25 meeting, but just to show their solidarity. "The teachers were there in support of a healthy school environment," he said. "We spoke at the last meeting .Just being there was our voice. Nothing more needed to be said."

In other business, WACS superintendent David Davison asked for the board's approval to move ahead with plans to enter into a combined football program with Brocton and Fredonia districts. He noted that Fredonia's board meeting had been cancelled due to weather and it has not yet been able to approve the plan.

Members of the board reported that they had heard nothing negative about the plan. Board president Steve Cockram shared a letter from a football parent expressing support for the plan, stating; "Our dedicated players want this merger to happen."

At the Jan 14 meeting, WACS athletic director Jacob Hitchcock and head football coach Frank Quagliana both expressed support for the plan to combine the teams. Hitchcock said the merger would benefit the health and safety of the players.

In another matter WACS high school principal Ivana Hite spoke about a new middle school program, "On A Roll." This program is aimed at recognizing students who struggle and do their best to make the honor roll, but fall short, she said.

 
 
 

 

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