Board of Education Meeting to Discuss Middletown School Unions' Claims of Harassment, Intimidation

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A special Board of Education meeting is being held in Middletown on Monday night as several school unions are calling on city officials to investigate accusations of harassment and intimidation among school administrators.

Union representatives directed their statement towards Board of Education and council members during a common council meeting last Thursday night.

"Numerous past and present members have come to us with serious concerns about repeated harassment, intimidation and retaliation by members of Central Office Senior Management. Our members no longer feel safe expressing these concerns through the channels provided through the Board of Education and City of Middletown," UPSEU Local 6457 President Ann Gregg said during the meeting.

Gregg went on to say that union representatives received statements from 15 former employees prior to the meeting last Thursday. She also said that past members who have brought up issues in the past have been ignored.

Several school unions in Middletown are calling on city officials to investigate accusations of harassment and intimidation among school administrators.

"The results of exit interviews have been dismissed, ignored and have been discontinued altogether," Gregg said to the council.

"We have lost many valued employees with dedicated years of service who have gone to other districts and in some cases for less pay. This exodus ultimately puts our students' learning opportunities at risk and threatens real long-term consequences to our city's quality of life," Gregg said during the meeting.

As a result of these allegations, Gregg and other union representatives are asking the Board of Education and Common Council for what they describe as an independent, fair and impartial investigation.

Mayor Benjamin Florsheim, Majority Leader Councilman Eugene P. Nocera and Minority Leader Councilman Philip J. Pessina collectively issued a statement about the allegations.

"The allegations we received about conduct at Middletown Public Schools are deeply upsetting and totally inconsistent with Middletown’s values—as a city and as a school system. They warrant a full, fair, and independent investigation as to their veracity," the statement reads.

"We urge the Board of Education to take immediate steps to ensure such an investigation is initiated and anticipate full cooperation by all parties involved so that our outstanding educators can continue their critical mission of providing a quality education to all Middletown students," the statement continues.

The union representatives that attended last Thursday's meeting said they represent "over 1,000 dedicated public servants including teachers, paraeducators, supervisors, secretaries, nurses, custodians, tradesmen and so many more."

The Board of Education said they've received anonymous allegations.

"The Board takes seriously its responsibility to review and respond to these allegations and the Board will be meeting on Monday evening to discuss the matter further," Chairperson Deborah V. Cain said in a statement.

The special Board of Education meeting begins on Monday at 6:30 p.m. They've scheduled an Executive Session and then possible action to be taken on the personnel complaint.

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