By Ben Velderman
ORLAND PARK, Ill. – If teacher union leaders want to know why their approval ratings among Americans have plummeted in recent years, the ongoing controversy in Illinois’ Orland School District 135 offers a few clues.
Last month, the Orland school board voted 5-2 to dismiss three teacher aides who allegedly didn’t do enough to protect students from a verbally abusive special education teacher and another district employee.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the special education “teacher allegedly referred to a parent as a ‘fat slob,’ derided the hygiene and clothing of special education students as young as three and said she hated one student ‘so much I could kill him.’”
The aides “allegedly witnessed the teacher calling students ‘crazy,’ ‘disgusting’ or ‘a little expletive’ and saying of one student: ‘I’d like to (expletive) punch him,’” the Tribune reports.
The teacher and the director of special education resigned as a result of the district’s investigation.
Because of confidentiality laws, it’s unclear exactly why the three teacher aides were fired. The Orland school board will only say that the three aides “were ‘dishonest’ and ‘untrustworthy’ during the investigation when asked if employees in their classroom said anything inappropriate or unprofessional toward parents or students,” reports The Regional News.
Most Americans would agree that’s enough to keep the three aides away from children – but not the aides’ union, the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the IFT is filing an “unfair labor practice charge related to the employees’ rights with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board and plans to file a second charge.”
That means school officials will have to spend a small fortune in attorney fees to defend themselves. That’s money that won’t benefit students – or taxpayers – in the least.
While some Orland residents might be surprised by the union’s sue-happy behavior, Orland School Board President John Carmody isn’t among them.
“They do it all the time, every time. Regardless of the situation,” Carmody told the Tribune.
The Orland controversy is just another example of how teacher unions care more about protecting the jobs of even their least-worthy members than in keeping children safe from allegedly abusive adults.