Colorado Education Assoc. releases reprimand of Weld RE-5J letter sent to parents

WELD COUNTY, Colo. — The Colorado Education Association issued a strong reprimand of the notification regarding personnel issues sent out to parents Thursday by Weld RE-5J and Johnstown police.

In the statement, the CEA said the organization was “shocked and disappointed that any school district would discuss unresolved employee issues with the community in such a letter.”

The lengthy and detailed letter reveals details about personnel issues related to teacher suspensions at schools that are being dealt with. It comes on the heels of threats of violence that have disrupted classes at Weld County RE-5J schools in Johnstown this week.

READ THE WELD RE-5J LETTER SENT TO STUDENTS HERE

Administrators admit they have taken an unprecedented step in the letter. They don’t typically discuss personnel issues publicly. But they said in this case they needed to take this step in to clear up misinformation.

In a statement, the district says it has seen several serious personnel issues so far this school year. Administrators note rumors about these personnel matters have played a role in events that have disrupted classes this week. This likely refers to student walk-outs during the last few days.

The letter goes on to detail actions regarding five teachers in the district. All five have either resigned, been fired or placed on administrative leave.

The reasons range from intoxication on school grounds to inappropriate behavior between teachers and students, to alleged inappropriate social media interaction with a student, to a teacher bringing numerous deadly weapons into a classroom.

The district says it’s working to be as transparent as it can be with the community and will announce any updates as they become available.

The CEA, however, said Weld RE-5J acted “impulsively and did exactly what they know is wrong”.

The full statement can be found below:

“CEA is shocked and disappointed that any school district would discuss unresolved employee issues with the community in such a letter sent out to families by the Weld RE-5J School Board Members and Superintendent. Because students exercised free speech and voiced their concerns over the school district’s practices, the Board and Superintendent reacted impulsively and did exactly what they know is wrong by publishing one-sided details about ongoing legal cases. Commenting on such sensitive personnel matters may prevent the teachers’ ability to receive a fair outcome in their cases, and can irreparably harm the professional integrity of all school employees. The Board Members and Superintendent readily admit in this letter that they shouldn’t discuss personnel issues in public and should respect the privacy of its staff. Public education officials entrusted with the responsibility to care for its students and employees cannot abuse its power in this reckless manner.”

A juvenile female has been arrested and charged with false report of explosive devices and interference with an educational institution. Police in Johnstown and the school district said they are following up on several other active leads Thursday regarding threats this week.

A petition to remove the newly appointed Superintendent was posted on Change.org. The goal of the petition is to collect 500 signatures.

On Friday afternoon, the Weld RE-5J School District released the following statement regarding the CEA’s release:

“The District has reviewed the Colorado Education Association’s December 6, 2018 statement regarding the letter sent to families containing certain personnel information. The District has reached out to the leadership of the CEA as well as the leadership of the local Johnstown-MIlliken Education Association to propose an in-person meeting to work through the concerns raised and to promote continued dialogue between the respective groups.”

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