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Somerset County Faced Public Comment Strike by SEA Teachers' Union at School Board Meeting

The Somerset County Board of Education held their monthly school board meeting on February 21, 2023. To our surprise, names were called of those who signed up to make public comments and were not present. After a few names were called, it was very obvious what was happening. It was a collectively-organized strike by the union to consume the public comments section in retaliation for the last meeting, where teachers were questioned on their presentation of a proposed curriculum that was called out for containing bias in its content.

The board has a Public Participation Policy 100-12 , which limits the number of public comments to 10 persons. The SEA members knew this, so they registered in advance to fill the slots and to rob the citizens of their voice. Nine of the ten who pre-registered were no-shows. Watch what happens in the video below, as they were called out on their stunt:

Md. Education Code Ann. § 6-410 § 6-410. Strikes prohibited; penalties.

(a) An employee organization may not call or direct a strike.

(b) (1) Any employee organization designated as an exclusive representative that violates any provision of this section shall have its designation as exclusive representative revoked by the public school employer and the employee organization and any other employee organization that violates any provision of this section is ineligible to be designated as exclusive representative for a period of 2 years after the violation.

(2) If an employee organization violates any provision of this section, the public school employer shall stop making payroll deductions for dues of the organization for 1 year after the violation.

Md. Education Code Ann. § 6-402 § 6-402. Employees may join organization; membership restrictions.

(a) Public school employees may form, join, and participate in the activities of employee organizations of their own choice for the purpose of being represented on all matters that relate to salaries, wages, hours, and other working conditions.

The Teachers' Unions have no collective bargaining power when it comes to curriculum whatsoever. They cross the line when they try to inject their political agendas. We see them attempt this top down from the unions, starting with the NEA, MSEA, all the way down to the SEA. According to the Maryland Education Code 6-402, their bargaining unit is limited to negotiating salaries, wages, hours, and other working conditions (which means safe working environment) and nothing more.

Based on inside information and a comment made before the names of the absent commenters were called, it is clear that the agenda of the SEA members was to drive a political narrative that the board member(s) are inconsiderate of the diverse student population and disrespectful to teachers in order to create a side-show distraction from the proposed curriculum that violates policy. It's a matter of fact that the elected school board has full control and ultimately decides on the curriculum used for the district. Although teachers and administrators can make suggestions to the board, it's not up to the teachers or administrators. As an employer, the board directs their employees what to implement in the schools through the curriculum. The board has every right and a responsibility to the citizens to question and thoroughly vet any curriculum being presented or proposed before them.

In conclusion, the stunt that the SEA union members pulled to collectively retaliate and rob the citizens of their voice was unethical, unprofessional, highly inappropriate, and disrespectful to the board and the citizens of Somerset County. Not all of them were even from Somerset County as they indicated on the signup sheet. For the record, organized union strikes are illegal in the State of Maryland and have legal ramifications.

Fellows & Editors

February 23, 2023 Copyright

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