One of the most treasured things in the academic world is tenure. After so many years on the job and supposedly excellent performance, teachers and college instructors are awarded tenure. Receiving tenure means that their job is more secure than others without tenure and they are considered to be more senior in promotions and pay than others. In some school districts, a tenured teacher is also more protected by the teacher’s union than other teachers are, making it very difficult to fire a teacher that has tenure.
And it’s tenure that is making it difficult for the Goodrich School District in Goodrich, Michigan to take action against Nicole McVey, a tenured teacher at Oaktree Elementary School. McVey is so secure in her tenured position that she videoed herself bullying one of her students.
The student is an 11 year old boy that suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. The boy was stuck in his chair and McVey began bullying and harassing the boy in front of the rest of the class. To make matters worse, Principle Michael Ellis was also videoed teasing the boy in front of fellow students.
On the video, McVey asks the boy, struggling to get out of his chair if he wants to be Tasered. Then Ellis is heard saying that this really isn’t an emergency in their book. Other students in the classroom were laughing at the boy through the entire ordeal.
McVey must have thought that her actions were funny enough to share with other teachers at the school because she emailed the video she recorded to them. Her colleagues did not see the humor in what they saw on the video and forwarded it on to school administrators at the district office.
When confronted with the video, Principal Ellis resigned from his position, but McVey did not, believing that her tenure would protect her. The district has placed her on paid administrative leave while the school board looks into the legality of filing ‘tenure charges’ against her.
Scott Bogner, Superintendent of the Goodrich School District issued a statement that read:
“In the event the behaviors are clearly not in keeping with the policies of the district, raise concerns about professional judgement [sic] or concerns regarding activities associated with the children in a particular classroom, then and only then would the board engage in a decision to file tenure charges.”
Believe it or not some parents and other teachers are defending McVey. One parent said that being Tasered means the teacher takes two fingers and tickles the student in the side. Another parent said that there is no way that McVey bullied any student in the classroom, in spite of what was caught on the video.
So should this teacher or any other teacher who bullies a student, especially an autistic student, be protected by tenure? Shouldn’t the school district be allowed to discipline any teacher or faculty member when necessary? Or should tenure be done away with altogether?
Personally, I believe that tenure, like unions should become a thing of the past, and that teachers should be performance rated. Teachers with the better performance are rewarded with higher pay and teachers with poor performances are given notice to improve or face termination. That would help change the face of education nationwide and get rid of deadbeat teachers and teachers that bully kids.