BEU gathers again for early morning demonstration


Sofia Tong / Sagamore Staff

Members of the BEU gather outside of the high school during Z-Blcok on Thursday, May 19.

Passed by honking cars expressing their support, members of the Brookline Educators Union gathered outside the high school during Z-block on Thursday, May 19. Faculty gathered to raise awareness about contract negotiations, which have been stagnant for months.

English teacher Jennifer Rose-Wood said that one of the faculty’s main concerns is that an overload of work obligations impedes on the learning of students.

“The major problem is because we have too much work, we can’t teach well, and that means we can’t be working one on one with students,” Rose-Wood said. “We can’t be coming up with ideas for really cool projects or learning experiences in the classroom. We’re not available after school to help people get caught up, and we’re also not able to communicate.”

History teacher Robert Grant said that in his 16 years of teaching at the high school, he has never witnessed teacher morale so low. He also said that there is a disparity between “education experts” and those who actually teach.

I think the School Committee has better things to do than stiff the teachers,” Grant said.

Grant also said that productive contract negotiations should begin in order to allow both parties to focus on other issues, such as the building of a new elementary school.

English teacher John Andrews said that the efforts of the BEU and the various demonstrations that have been organized have been successful.

“I think they’re going well,” Andrews said. “We’re seeing more and more teachers involved, and we’re getting more parent response. I think parents are becoming more aware of the situation, are writing letters to the School Committee, posting things in the Tab. So, I think part of the goal is to get attention to the parents, and I think it’s working.”

Special Education teacher Erin Sheedy-Amatucci said that it is important to raise awareness about what the contract really contains, as most students only are aware of the monetary aspect of it.

“I think awareness would be really great, and that’s something that I thought the whole time because our student body is fantastic at affecting change when it’s something that their invested in,” Sheedy-Amatucci said. “Most of the students that I’ve talked to don’t know what the contract does, or what it is, or what it means for us not to have one, so I think raising awareness within the student body would be a really happy thing.”

Andrews said that there are various ways through which students and parents can support the BEU as the union continues to push for a contract.

“I think they can reach to the School Committee and encourage them to negotiate fairly,” Andrews said. “I think they can make their presence known at town meetings and School Committee meetings. They can show up and join us on events like this, hold a sign. We’ll be happy to help them.”