We have been accused of being school haters, union proponents, members of the Concerned Citizens of Malden group, and the list goes on. As we have addressed repeatedly, we are none of the above. As we stated earlier we listed the link to the Malden School Budget as a way to demonstrate that when a school has nothing to hide, they have no issues or concerns in submitting their records under the Freedom of Information Act as required by law. The fact that our school has chosen to break the law rather than follow the law causes us to question why they would the repercussions of breaking that law if they have not broken any other laws. We can also assure our readers that we are in no way affiliated with any unions or union actions. In fact, while we do believe that our teachers should unite for better working conditions, we don't feel the unions are the answer. In fact, we would prefer the teachers align themselves with the Pioneer Institute (www.pioneerinstitute.org) to address the improvement of their working conditions. They have done some wonderful research and made great strides towards education reform. Another group called Turn Exchange (www.turnexchange.net) is another organization that works with teachers and making great accomplishments.
As for being affiliated with the Concerned Citizens of Malden group, we are not but believe that their purpose and message are important. It appears as though the Malden government is out of control and running amok and this group is possible the only chance of cleaning it up. It appears as though individuals within that group and our group (and other MVRCS parents) are working towards a common goal but from two very different perspectives and for different reasons. Case in point is Roosevelt Park and the CCM's hope of squashing it entirely for the sake of the children and families of Malden. Alternatively, we do feel that the students of MVRCS do need field space but feel that it should be accomplished with in the right manner, with transparency and with the blessings of Malden residents.
In regards to our comment regarding going to the sending districts and 'sharing' our information in an attempt to remove funding, we don't want that any more than anyone else, especially since a few of us are NOT from Malden and this would impact the education of our children. Again, our hope is not to destroy the school but rather to have the school handle things within the legal boundaries the school is governed by. If we thought for a moment that Neil Kinnon was capable of this, we would do everything possible to work with him rather than against him to resolve our concerns. While we may not admire or approve of his tactics and methods, we are very much not Neil Kinnon haters. We appreciate that the school would not exist if it were not for him and the other founders of the school. That being said, we do feel that the time has come for him to release control of the school for the sake of the school to individuals who are able to ensure the schools future success.
We recently came across the case file concerning the Malden Firefighters and their legal battle with Neil Kinnon and Mayor Howard from 2004. The case revolved around the Malden Firefighters (and their Union reps) attempting to advocate against Mr. Kinnon's decision to reduce the fire staff. The Firemen (as we understand it) were posting signs, handing out leaflets, and generally attempting to education the public as to the actions of Mr. Kinnon & Mr. Howard and the impact to the residents. The case went to court (and expenses incurred) as both parties defended their position. While we can understand an appointed Commissioners and Mayors desire to not have the fact that they were paying for a Commissioner rather than Firefighters, the extent of the battle amazed us. Mr. Kinnon was attempting to deny the Firefighters of Malden their First Amendment right to voice their opposition to the actions. The Firefighters prevailed but it was sad that the City of Malden felt entitled to such limitations upon their staff, spent city funds to defend, and had written a Memorandum that was in violation of the laws that govern our government and those that govern employers actions. I raise this example for two points, the first being to demonstrate exactly how far Mr. Kinnon is willing to go to control what is said or written about him (or his actions, tactics, behaviors) regardless of whether his position is legal or ethically correct.
The second reason for sharing this information is to draw attention to the contracts that our teachers must sign prior to employment with our school. Per their contract they are not permitted to speak on subject matters that are restricted by the Administration. This includes communicating with parents regarding the education of their children, possible removing their children from MVRCS, and/or the quality of services or appropriateness of their child remaining at MVRCS. This means that if a teacher speaks about any of these subject matters to parents, they are subject to immediate termination. Additionally, the teachers are not only not encouraged to discuss working conditions, or employment issues with each other, they again can (and are) immediately terminated for doing so. We believe that a number of elements within our teachers are not only unethical but also illegal under Discrimination laws. For teachers to be terminated for sharing a concern, idea, or theory with parents regarding the education of their child is seen as retaliatory under the American with Disabilities Act. The fact that teacher contracts state such language is outrageous and parents with children with special needs should be aware that the teachers are being illegally restricted from communicating with you about your childs education.
Finally, for those of you who still do not understand why the need for anonymity for the writers of this blog, we have now demonstrated and proved the need for such. If Mr. Kinnon was willing to take on the Firefighters of Malden (who are represented by Union Officials and their attorneys) to deny them their right to speak out against him and his actions, it would not be a stretch to imagine what Mr. Kinnon would be willing and determined to do to us. And, like the Firefighters and against the desires, threats, and actions of him and his 'associates' (you know, the individuals who post on here about how awful EVERYTHING we have to say is), we have a legal right to discuss our displeasure with Mr. Kinnons handling of our school and school funds.
Below is a portion of the verdict regarding the Malden Firefighters Case against Mr. Kinnon & Mr. Howard:
"In its entirety, the court's November 26, 2002 Order reads as
follows:After a hearing held this day, the court grants the motion for
a preliminary injunction in part. The City of Malden and the defendant
Commissioner and Mayor are hereby ORDERED to withdraw the final
paragraph of the Commissioner's November 1, 2002 Memorandum
prohibiting the display on fire station property of any
non-preapproved sign protesting municipal staffing levels and
budgetary decisions. This ORDER is entered without prejudice to the
City's right to ban all signage of an advocacy nature from fire
station property without discrimination as to its contents. Defendants
are further ENJOINED from instituting any disciplinary action based on
the alleged violation of the unauthorized signage provision of the
November 1, 2002 Memorandum or instituting any disciplinary action
based on a firefighter's off-duty exercise of his or her First
Amendment right to free expression on issues of public concern,
including fire department staffing levels and budgetary decisions.
Defendants are further DIRECTED to rescind any disciplinary action
taken to date based on the alleged violation of the unauthorized
signage provision of the November 1, 2002 Memorandum. Upon the
parties' completion of discovery, the court will hear argument as to
the constitutionality of Chapter 5, §§ 6, 7, 25 and 37 of the Malden
Fire Department's Rules and Regulations."
(1) firefighters had standing;
(2) regulation conditioning presentation of grievances to mayor or
city council upon notification to fire commissioner and fire chief
violated firefighters' free speech rights;
(3) regulations requiring prior department approval of firefighters'
public comments on matters of department administration violated
firefighters' free speech rights; but
(4) regulation requiring firefighters summoned to testify before court
or agency to notify department comported with First Amendment; and
(5) content-neutral ban on advocacy signage in fire station was
reasonable under First Amendment.
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