Breaking: Board Investigating Teachers Over Facebook “Like”
Published by HHSTA under Association News,Negotiations
Under the leadership of Skoda, Corcoran, Manley and Casini, the first tool of choice is threats and intimidation. But this time, these aren’t vague threats. Teachers’ careers are on the line.
If you’ve been following this, over the summer the HHSTA Facebook page linked to a news story on Patch Publications regarding the Board giving teachers one hour during a negotiation session to rescind their strike vote in return for them not locking out the teachers. A picture not associated with the story of an ax through a windshield appeared in the Facebook feed. Patch apologized and accepted all responsibility for this error prior to that evening’s board meeting. But that didn’t stop Skoda from going on a rant at the board meeting about how they were launching a criminal investigation into teachers who “liked” the Facebook link. Police found no reason to investigate and declined to do so. This was over a month ago.
Yet this Wednesday, teachers association presidents John Bowman and Dave Lapetino received the following message from Director of Human Resources Domenico Maniscalco:
Sent: Wednesday, September 10, 2014 3:15 PM
To: Bowman,John; Lapetino,David
Subject: Investigation / Fact Finding Meeting
HR will need to conduct an investigation for the following individuals regarding the ax Facebook posting. Pursuant to section 9.8 of the CBA, we are providing all members a one day notice before we formally meet this Monday or Tuesday, September 15th and 16th. We have blocked out those two days to investigate this matter. This notice should provide enough time to prepare for Association representation if it is requested.
The following teachers/DCs that we will meet with are….
Maniscalco then lists 17 teachers who, on their own time, during the summer, “liked” a link to a news article on Facebook.
So now that negotiations are reaching a critical point, what are Skoda, Corcoran, Manley and Casini doing with district resources?
Launching a witch hunt to intimidate teachers who dared “like” a Facebook post the board tried and failed to make a story about.
John Bowman has responded in an email:
Sent: Friday, September 12, 2014 7:18 PM
To: Maniscalco,Domenico; Lapetino,David
Subject: RE: Investigation / Fact Finding Meeting
Thank you for notifying me of this situation.
I am concerned about this investigation considering the history surrounding the issue. A Patch editor has already apologized, in a public forum, explaining that the picture was the fault of the Patch and not the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association. Furthermore, when a report of the incident was filed with the local police, they determined that it was unworthy of investigation.
Is the Administration investigating this issue as a question of professional performance? If not, specifically what job-related misconduct are they investigating? Who initiated this investigation, and specifically what for? If the expectation is that these highly regarded employees will be subjected to questioning then they have every right to know the answers to these questions ahead of time.
I have already contacted our IEA Uniserv Director and IEA attorneys to provide support and legal counsel to every one of these employees and former employees of the district. This appears to be a blatant abuse of power and an inappropriate use of district resources which serves no more purpose than to intimidate Association members and discourage them from taking part in legal activities. I object to any questioning of these employees and suggest that the district administration rethink taking these teachers away from their students to interrogate them about an issue that has already been dismissed by trained law enforcement. My advice to everyone on your list below is not to speak to anyone until they have had an opportunity to speak with IEA legal counsel.
Instead of negotiating with the teachers to reach an agreement, this is what your school board is up to.