Teachers question reason for transfers

December 27, 1992|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

Teachers still aren't sure why they were involuntarily transferred to other schools last year, even after the county Board of Education rejected their appeals.

"They never stated what the reason is," said Art Lyons, a teacher who was transferred from Glenwood Middle School to Northfield Elementary School.

"They did state at the hearing it was a 'chemistry' problem," said Charles Ashcraft, a teacher who was transferred from Glenwood Middle to Wilde Lake High.

"It's a real gut punch," he said. "The bottom line is, I really still don't understand the move, other than it was for the good of the school system and it was because of the chemistry [personnel makeup] at Glenwood.

"No member of the board ever called me to ask my side of the story," he said. "I used to feel I was an integral part of the educational system; now I feel like a number."

The five teachers -- from Waterloo Elementary, Clarksville Elementary and three from Glenwood Middle -- were transferred last year by Superintendent Michael E. Hickey, who said he made the transfers to improve the system. The teachers will have to stay at their assigned schools.

"We felt his decision was not done in a capricious and arbitrary bTC manner, but rather to enhance the educational opportunities of the students," said newly elected board Chairman Dana Hanna.

The decision was rendered earlier this month.

"We felt the move was done in a manner expressly explicit in the law, which is to make decisions in the best interest of the students of the county," Mr. Hanna said.

The Howard County Education Association plans to appeal the decision to the Maryland State Board of Education.

"There's a procedure that's outlined in the negotiated agreement for involuntary transfers, and that was violated," said Jim Swab, president of the association, which represents teachers and administrators.

"For someone in the central office to come to a teacher who is packing for the year, with no indication anything is wrong [and to tell him only that he's moving for] the need of the system, is cold, calculating and counter to any perception of human relations."

The union contends the board violated due process by refusing to allow teachers to testify and call witnesses on their behalf.

"There are proper procedures and proper standards of behavior for dealing with people," Mr. Swab said. "The way these transfers were carried out were contrary to any acceptable standards of human relations.

"These teachers were moved in such a way as to make everyone conclude they did something wrong. These individual teachers were all successful, and got all successful ratings."

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