SWAMPSCOTT — Tensions between the school district and the teachers’ union continue to rise following the suspension of elementary school teacher Nancy Hanlon.
Hanlon, the speech and language pathologist at Stanley Elementary School, is also the president of the Swampscott Education Association. Her three-day suspension from working with students was announced on the union’s Facebook page.
“It is a dark day in Swampscott,” the association stated in the post. “The School District handed SEA President Nancy Hanlon an egregiously excessive three day suspension yesterday. We believe this is not a coincidence.”
Hanlon declined to comment.
In a statement emailed to The Item, Superintendent Pamela Angelakis said it is unfortunate that the SEA would seek to exploit a serious matter in a clear, yet misguided attempt to gain negotiating leverage. She did not disclose the reason for Hanlon’s suspension.
“It is the policy of the school district to refrain from commenting on disciplinary matters involving personnel,” Angelakis wrote. “Decisions that are made regarding personnel or any issues that affect students and staff are made completely independent of contract negotiations or any other outside factors. Anyone looking at the situation objectively would understand that. We would hope that SEA members realize this to be the case.”
The SEA also wrote in its post that the “unduly harsh punishment comes as (Hanlon) leads a struggle for a fair teacher contract settlement supported by educators, parents, and the larger community.”
The union and the district have disagreed on teacher contract negotiations going all the way back to August. Teachers say the proposed new contract offers no raises for the next three years, but the administration has insisted that is untrue.
“The SEA fully supports our president and will continue our fight for the schools Swampscott deserves,” the union wrote in its post.
“Contract negotiations are not easy on either side but as negotiations progress, even if not at the speed which we would prefer, the day-to-day operation of the school district must always take precedence,” Angelakis wrote. “The administration looks forward to getting back to the bargaining table with the union next week…
“In the meantime, we are confident teachers will continue to do their job well, as we have come to expect and appreciate,” Angelakis wrote. “All stakeholders have the right to expect that district leadership will do the same and can be assured that we will.”