105 educators fired in Malden, Massachusetts – students are leading the fight! – Liberation News

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Students, teachers, parents and community members are demanding the reinstatement of 105 educators who were “slipped” in Malden, Massachusetts. More than 100 people gathered outside Malden Town Hall on June 6 to pressure Superintendent Ligia Noriega-Murphy and the Malden School Board to reverse their decision not to renew the employment of 105 teachers, social workers and other school personnel.

Eduardo Palacios, organizer with City Life/Vida Urbana, talks about the link between housing justice and education justice. Photo Liberation.

After an hour of speakers, the crowd moved inside the school committee meeting for the public comment period. Members of the Malden Education Association began with a chorus reading of why their union overwhelmingly approved a June 1 “no confidence” vote for Superintendent Noriega-Murphy. There were more speakers than the allotted time allowed.

The action was supported by members, staff and volunteers of the Malden Education Association, City Life/Vida Urbana, Massachusetts Teachers Association, Belmont Education Association, SEIU Local 888, UNITE HERE Local 26, MIT Grad Student Union and the Boston Liberation Center.

Students lead teachers

Malden Education Association leaves 105 candles at the Noriega-Murphy office. Photo Liberation.

Over a thousand students at Malden High School got out of class and marched to City Hall in protest on May 16, just four days after the pink slips were handed out. The demonstration was the subject of significant media coverage which generated a statement by Noriega-Murphy.

Sarah Pham, a student from Malden who took part in the walkout, told Liberation News that seniors “put flyers on their social media and handed out little papers that gave all the information, like ‘be here Monday!’ “”

Just a day after the walkout, two lead organizers spoke at a vigil hosted by MEA for the 105 “educational relationships extinguished” by the Noriega-Murphy decision.

In his speech, Senior Armani Dure said “the money is there” to fully staff schools. After the vigil, Dure told Liberation News: ‘Although I’m disappointed and really upset, and I was surprised, it’s not something that wasn’t on my mind. Especially when it’s a known fact that she has called teachers and administrators replaceable, I understand she would.

Voice of the Malden Public Schools Community

Jacob Augenstern is a 7th grade history teacher whose contract was not renewed.

“It was the students who guided us! It was students more than anyone else who quickly recognized that teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions. I saw this on a poster made by a student. How many of you have seen a thousand students come out? It gave me life!

Students at Malden Public Schools hold a sign that reads, “When our teachers suffer, our education suffers. Photo Liberation.

Beautiful Anne Gerochi is an MPS student.

“We are the ones most affected by the situation. We have built strong relationships with qualified and caring teachers. Our schools are understaffed enough as it is. We want our teachers back and our schools fully staffed. »

Over 100 community members gather outside Malden Town Hall in solidarity with MPS students and teachers on June 6. Liberation Photo.

MPS is one of the most racially diverse districts in Massachusetts, yet 92% of educators are white. Malden has twice the number of English language learners compared to the state average, and 50% of its students have not learned English as a first language. MEA President Deb Gesualdo said:

“It’s also important for everyone to know that around 20% of non-renewal staff are people of color and many are multilingual. So much for hiring, supporting and retaining staff who are more like our students, huh? »

Christina Anasthal is a high school student from Malden.

“One worker I would like to specifically highlight is Jenkins Health social worker at Malden High, Taysia Holmes[-Maxwell]… In all my years in the Malden District, from kindergarten through junior year, I’ve only been able to look up to three black women. One moved to Cambridge District to become assistant manager. The one who still works at the Ferryway [School]. And the last one you unfortunately rose slipped.

Members of the crowd hold signs that read “Education Justice is Racial Justice!” and “Students Demand Fully Staffed Schools!” Photo Liberation.

Kristina Kisthart is a Malden alumnus and currently an art teacher at Malden College.

“My city stabbed me in the back. I graduated with a master’s degree and was fired three days later…And I was fired for ‘poor performance’ even though I was deemed competent in my assessment and that I worked so hard to go above and beyond the demands of my job.”

Crowds pack Malden Town Hall for the June 6 school committee meeting public comment period. Photo release.

Tara Murphy is an educator in Somerville, Massachusetts and parent of a student from Malden.

“Our schools are already understaffed and the needs are more than great. It is difficult to have educators. People are leaving this career at the highest rate I’ve seen since I was 21. We need dedicated educators more than ever… my son and the other students need consistency, not more change.

It’s not too late to turn back

Superintendent Noriega-Murphy and the Malden School Board still have a chance to rescind the non-renewals and avoid further damage to MPS and the Malden community.

Jacob Augenstern holds a Noriega-Murphy benchmark simulation used to drive MEA’s vote of no confidence during public comment. Photo Liberation.

Augenstern told Liberation News: “All of our grievances are about politics. They are not about personalities, they are not about identities. These are political decisions that are ultimately the responsibility of the whole school committee. If these decisions are overturned, we are fully prepared to work with Superintendent Noriega-Murphy. We put that in our vote of no confidence.

Gesualdo told Liberation News that it will take continued solidarity between the students, the MEA and the community to win back the jobs of these educators. Our readers can support the struggle of Malden educators with the following actions:

  1. Follow MEA on Facebook, instagram and Twitter, and share their posts. Malden students have demonstrated the power of social media in the organization.
  2. Write and send comments to Superintendent Noriega-Murphy and the Malden School Committee.
  3. Attend Future Actions: The next solidarity rally will take place outside of the next MEA bargaining session on Thursday, June 16 at 3 p.m. at 215 Pleasant Street, Malden Town Hall.

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