Two on school board threatened in Arundel They had opposed teacher pay raises

June 18, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

Two Anne Arundel County school board members opposed to giving teachers 3 percent raises have received telephone calls threatening them with violence, with one of the calls traced to a middle school.

Both board members have filed complaints with police. Board member Maureen Carr-York said in an interview last night that she used Caller ID to identify the location of the middle school call.

"He was a very nice, well-educated man," Ms. Carr-York said. "Then he proceeded to say some of the most vile and profane things you have ever heard. He was rather sexually explicit -- all of the most deviant nature."

Ms. Carr-York said she received the call at 8:10 a.m. yesterday, after a prolonged school board meeting Wednesday night that ended with union officials threatening a work-to-rule job action that the union said could jeopardize the opening of schools this fall.

At Wednesday's meeting, the eight-member school board unanimously approved a $383 million operating budget that earmarks $3.1 million for more assistant principals, guidance counselors and teachers' aides in elementary schools, instead of raises for teachers.

"This is the sort of thing that happens when inflammatory rhetoric is coming from the president of the teachers union," Ms. Carr-York said. "You get people on the fringes of your organization."

Thomas J. Paolino, the president of the 3,900-member Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County, said last night that he does not condone threats.

But he added, "If Ms. Carr-York feels my remarks are inflammatory, then so be it. At no time did I advocate physical threats against any board member.

"We are not advocating that kind of behavior," Mr. Paolino said. "We have other ways of expressing our displeasure through public statements and job action. . . . My comments were to show board members how upset and concerned we are."

Ms. Carr-York said she is committed to getting teachers a 5 percent raise in July 1994.

School board member Thomas Twombly of Pasadena told police a man called his home about 7 a.m. Wednesday, before the board meeting, and warned him that if he voted against the raise, his legs would be broken.

The police report on Mr. Twombly's complaint was made public yesterday morning. But neither he nor School Superintendent C. Berry Carter II could be reached for comment yesterday.

Ms. Carr-York said she was not aware of threats made to other board members.

Carr-York said she thought she recognized the caller's voice as that of a middle school teacher. She said she gave the name to authorities and is hoping for an arrest.

"He told me that he knew where I lived and that I had better look over my shoulder because 'You're going to get it. You and the kids.' "

Ms. Carr-York said she will push for a complete investigation and that if the suspect is a teacher, he should be removed from the classroom.

"Anyone who could do something like this should not be dealing with impressionable young children," she said. "He needs psychological counseling."

She said this is the first time she has ever received a threatening or obscene telephone call. "Teachers have called me at home before to tell me I should give them a raise and that I must not like teachers," she said.

"This was not that kind of call. This was extortion."

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