The strike and cancellation of schools inevitably caused a disruption in the town.
Junior Zoe Raybould said the BEU’s response has made it harder for her to talk to teachers and get work done.
“Due to work to rule, I haven’t been able to communicate with my teachers outside of school in months, and with the strike, I have assignments and tests that I have not had sufficient class time to prepare for. Regardless of who is in the right, the inability to come to an agreement negatively impacts all students, and it would benefit the entire Brookline community to have this issue resolved,” Raybould said.
A parent of a student at the high school, who chose to remain anonymous for “fear of retribution,” said he does not understand why the BEU has chosen to strike.
“We’re pro-union, educators are in our family, everybody’s pro-union. And I think the BEU’s demands are absolutely ridiculous. They’re unfair to the students. Especially at this time in the school year and especially when we’re finally getting out of COVID,” the parent said. “They are already among the highest paid teachers in the state of Massachusetts, they are teaching in schools that aren’t even ranked in the top 20, and yet they are already asking for more money. And, they are trying to enact legislation that is actually illegal according to the Department of Labor Relations.”
Junior Iris Liebman said she appreciates her teachers and hopes the strike will end soon.
“Our teachers are working so hard to provide us with amazing educations and it’s horrible that they are unable to work with the safety of having a fair contract. I hope that the BEU and BSC will be able to come to an agreement soon before it becomes too detrimental to the students’ health and learning,” Liebman said.
Freshman Emily Snyder said the strike is affecting students’ education at an especially pressing time.
“It’s important for teachers to be able to speak their mind and advocate for themselves. I think that the timing isn’t the best just because there’s MCAS tomorrow and seniors only have two weeks left in school,” Snyder said.
Third grader at the Lincoln school Jack Copple, son of a BEU member, said he was upset that educators were pushed to the point at which they felt they needed to strike.
“It is very wrong to not pay teachers enough money because teachers have a very important job. Their job has helped so many people but the BSC is pushing it too far. Pay my mom and every other teacher fairly,” Copple said.
Fernandez said he hopes members of the community support the BEU and encouraged those who don’t to make an effort to understand the union’s platform.
“[People who don’t support the BEU] need to come out here and talk to some of these educators. This is your perfect opportunity to learn what their position is and not through union leadership or anything like that, you can talk to educators and they’ll tell you what their experience has been and why it is so important to them that they have put themselves and their families on the line to be out here,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez also said the work of teachers deserves to be recognized.
“It is important to stand with our educators. They do so much for our community. They educate, they socially and emotionally develop our kids. They take care of our kids. I don’t know another more important group of folks to our community than the educators right here. Frankly, what they are asking for is very reasonable,” Fernandez said.
Copple said the conflict between the BEU and BSC has disrupted his school experience, even as a third grader.
“It makes the school feel torn apart,” Copple said.
Contributed reporting by Nate Parry Luff.