Middletown Public School employees urge hostile workplace investigation

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MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH)– A coalition of unions representing more than 1,000 Middletown Public School employees is urging the Board of Education to hear their concerns about workplace harassment issues.

The coalition has yet to receive any formal acknowledgment of or any follow-up from the Board of Education and the acting superintendent about their complaints.

On Oct. 14, leaders of four unions wrote a letter, voicing workplace hostility concerns to the common council and mayor.

“The accusations are real and significant,” said Mark Fong, a physical education teacher at Beman Middle School. “The BOE needs to take this seriously and listen to the concerns from the unions. If the mistreatment of staff continues, more quality employees will leave the district.

Coalition leaders sent a follow-up request on Oct. 21 for a meeting with the acting superintendent and BOE chair to discuss current and former members’ workplace harassment issues.

Coalition leaders say the BOE has not responded to the request.

Cindy Culp, a paraeducator at Middletown High School and president of the Middletown Federation of Paraprofessionals, AFT Local 3161, says that her job is to ensure a safe and healthy environment for students.

“I would expect the BOE to have our backs when it comes to our working environments. If there are issues that could impact the kids, they should want to know about it,” Culp said.

Some of the complaints that are being made include hostile working conditions in MPS facilities from current and former district employees.

“The BOE has a responsibility to students and our entire school community to come to the table,” said Randy McKiver, building superintendent at Lawrence Elementary School and MPS parent. “Let’s have an honest and transparent conversation so we can continue to focus on what matters most- education and services we provide for our students. The sooner all the facts are known, the sooner this investigation can be completed.

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