The Arizona Board of Education is scheduled to discuss if it has the authority to discipline teachers who participated in April's Red for Ed walkout.
The agenda item for Monday's meeting is listed in 5L as the "Presentation, discussion and possible action regarding the Board's authority to take disciplinary action against certified educators."
Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas' office confirmed that with AZ Family on Wednesday it's to find out if the board can legally punish teachers who decided to not go to class to protest for better pay and funding for education during the Red for Ed movement.
Back in April, she expressed concern, calling the walkout illegal.
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"A walkout is a nice term for it. It is a strike. Plain and simple and in Arizona – it is not legal for teachers to strike," said Douglas. "If they walk out, if anyone, and I’m not advocating for one way or another, but if parents or citizens file a complaint with the department, we have an investigations unit and I’ve assured the board this morning, we will investigate anything that comes."
She had also said, "What you have to recognize is that it may not be decertifying them. It may be a letter of censure within their file that goes on their record, gets reported to the national database, and if they chose to leave and teach somewhere else, it can be something that follows them."
Back on a May 21 meeting, Arizona Board of Education president Lucas Narducci called on discussing what the board can do.
"For something like that to happen in our state and for the ongoing actions, I just think we need to have something reviewed, so that due diligence in our part is accomplished and if we can't do anything that's fine too, but if we can, let's look at what we can do for now and in the future."
"It' a waste of time because we know the reality is that nothing is going to come of this," said David Schapira, a Democrat running for Diane Douglas' seat. "I wish the state board would focus on more important issues."
Schapira doesn't think it's feasible to punish the thousands of teachers who participated in the Red for Ed walkouts, especially with a teacher shortage.
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He created a Facebook event to to get educators to attend Monday's meeting and stay informed.
Monday's regular Arizona Board of Education meeting starts June 25 at 9 a.m. at 1535 W. Jefferson in Room 122.
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