Franklin teachers file grievance over concerns district isn't doing enough to protect them or students from COVID-19

Posted at 7:35 PM, Oct 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 10:23:24-04

FRANKLIN — Educators in Franklin Public Schools say the district is not doing enough to protect them and their students during the pandemic. They filed a grievance and want the district to take action.

Since the start of the school year, Madiha Ghaffar has kept her children home to learn virtually through the Franklin Public School District.

“To me, safety is more important,” Ghaffar said.

This year students in the district could learn virtually or in-person. According to the district, 80 percent chose the latter, but as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the area, Ghaffar doesn't regret her choice.

“There were some cases reported there, so I think I did the best decision to keep them virtual,” Ghaffar said.

Ted Kraig with the Wisconsin Education Association Council, also known as the WEAC, said many teachers in Franklin feel the same way.

“A lot of people are feeling like it's not safe, and they could get sick and they could get hurt,” Kraig said.

Seventy-seven teachers filed a grievance with the district on Sept. 10, but weeks later Kraig said they got a letter from the district saying they weren't going to process the grievance.

“Districts legally can't refuse to process the grievance and the WEAC has attorneys that are willing to go to court to say you have to process it, but that's months. I mean and people are unsafe now,” Kraig said.

In response, the district said in part:

The District addressed the grievance in accordance with the District’s grievance procedure. The District continues to prioritize the health and safety of its entire school community.

Kraig maintains the district hasn't put CDC recommendations in place as a part of their plan, and said those they did include like social distancing, they're not following.

“Class sizes have not changed. There are places where the students are still sitting a foot or two away from one other,” Kraig said.

The school board has the final decision on the merits of a grievance. TMJ4 News talked to one board member, but said they couldn't talk about the situation. There is a board meeting Wednesday, but it's unclear if this will come up.

You can read the full grievance below:

Franklin Public Schools Workplace Safety Grievance, Sept 10, 2020 by TODAY'S TMJ4 on Scribd

To view the district's response, click here.

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