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THE SOUR NOTE OF YEAR'S END

7/12/98

   This has been one of the saddest school endings in years.  Despite the efforts of the membership of the PCT and the heroic efforts of parents from the Kindergarten Center and Stratford Road Schools, teachers Shari Kunoff and Diana Gunther remain fired.  While the PCT is taking legal action to overturn these unjust firings, the legal process of seeking justice in these cases is slow moving and unfriendly to probationary teachers, leaving us no realistic expectation that these teachers could be back in September.

    The firing of these two outstanding teachers is but the latest example of a personnel process turned on its head.   Earlier in the year, staff, students and parents rallied to the support of an outstanding physical education teacher who was slated for termination.  There have been similar, albeit less public, cases like this during the year.  Recently, members of the PCT were saddened to learn that Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Michael Singleton will not be with us next year.  In the short time that he was here, he quickly won the respect of the staff as a committed educator with a genuine concern for students and staff.

    Why is there such a strong push to drive good people from our district?  Why is it that increasingly Plainview-Old Bethpage is coming to be seen in professional circles as a place knowledgeable, competent people seek to avoid when seeking employment?   Why is it that teachers can go through the school year without any indication that their employment is in jeopardy only to be summoned from their classrooms and told that they are to be fired.

    The staff and public deserve answers to these and other questions.  During the last weeks of school, PCT members wore buttons saying, "No Justice, No Peace."  In borrowing a phrase from the civil rights movement, we attempted to communicate our ongoing determination to fight these injustices and those that caused them.  We invite fair-minded citizens to join us in this endeavor. 

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