By Victor Skinner
THORNTON, Colo. – Hundreds of union members mobbed a Colorado school board meeting last week to loudly voice opposition to a June decision to increase their pension contributions.
A handful of parents showed up to support the school board decision, but their input was clearly not welcome by union members. Angry teachers waited outside for the parents to leave the meeting, and the parents had to be escorted from the building by security guards.
The union members seem to think there should only be freedom of speech if everyone agrees with their agenda.
Ben DeGrow, writing for Colorado Watchdog, reports that several pro-union speakers at the public meeting were greeted with applause from teachers in attendance, but when two local parents voiced support for the board, teachers walked out of the room.
Joseph Hein, who attended most Adams 12 board meetings this year, spoke at the recent meeting about sacrifices parents have made because of budget cuts to transportation and school sports. He urged district teachers to consider the board’s reasoning for increasing their pension contributions, DeGrow reports.
“You need to realize that you are not the only people hurting right now. I guarantee you that families have made many more sacrifices than you have,” she said as union protesters streamed out of the meeting with boos and loud rhythmic clapping.
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The protesters then waited outside the front doors of the building for Colburn and Hein to emerge. The district’s security chief saw the situation developing and escorted Colburn and her husband to their vehicles through a rear exit, according to media reports.
“Plain-clothes security officers walked Hein to his car, out of the same concern,” DeGrow reports.
Another parent later contacted the district superintendent to express concerns about union intimidation at the meeting, which she said kept her from speaking her mind.
“Our teachers spend lots of time on stopping bullying in schools,” parent Patty Stagr wrote in a letter to the superintendent. “Well, this group could have taught a class in HOW TO BULLY.”
The union intimidation tactic was despicable, particularly since it was aimed at taxpayers who help fund their salaries and benefits.
Taxpayers listened to what union protesters had to say at the meeting, but apparently teachers in attendance were unwilling to extend the same courtesy. It’s the perfect example of the “me first” mentality that’s turning so many Americans against teachers unions.
The irony of the union’s selfish actions wasn’t lost on Hein.
“The tragedy is that most of the protesters never heard the board speak that night,” Hein told DeGrow. “If we can’t have a dialogue, I’m not sure how we improve things for students.”