ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando television station’s recent “investigation” revealed what many education advocates already know: union job protections are costing schools hundreds of thousands in legal bills.

orlando investigationWFTV cites the case of former Osceola County special needs teacher Lillian Gomez, who fought her termination for soaking crayons in hot sauce and force-feeding them to an autistic child. A judge ordered her to be reinstated after a protracted legal battle that cost the district $120,000, although school officials have refused.

“I find this to be borderline child abuse,” Osceola school board member Jay Wheeler told WFTV.

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Another local case involves Seminole County special needs teacher Cydney Abrams, who was recorded telling a student, “You got me pissed off today. You might be an idiot, but I’m not an idiot.” She’s among other cases that have cost Seminole County taxpayers about $70,000 since 2011.

Brevard County school officials spent $170,000 to try to remove a band teacher accused of mistreatment and sexual comments toward students and lost the case, the television station reports.

The point is, these types of cases are ongoing in virtually all parts of the country, and they’re costing taxpayers a lot of money that could be much better spent on things that actually benefit students.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize that this is going on. That’s the sad part,” Osceola County Education Association President Apryle Jackson told WFTV.

That statement is very ironic. While it’s absolutely correct, Jackson neglects to explain why the situation is the way it is. The reality is school districts are forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove misbehaving teachers because of union job protections designed to make the termination process a nightmare.

Jackson is attempting to play the public, and the television station, as fools by shifting the blame to school officials by implying they’re wasting money on expensive attorneys.

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School officials in Florida and elsewhere are wasting money on expensive attorneys, but it’s a direct result of the union’s toxic influence in public schools, and its insistence on protecting child molesters, abusers, and drug users over the children the system is supposed to serve.