Andover Teachers Union Takes Vote of No Confidence in Superintendent

The Andover Education Association on Tuesday said Superintendent Sheldon Berman is showing "persistent disregard for educators"

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A day after teachers in Andover, Massachusetts, refused to enter schools amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Andover Education Association has now taken a vote of no confidence in the superintendent.

The association not only represents teachers, but also represents guidance counselors, psychologists, occupational and physical therapists, social workers, secretaries, and nurses, according to a news release from the group.

On Monday night, the school committee voted to take legal action against the teachers for their refusal to enter the building and instead work outside remotely to participate in a professional development day. The school committee called the act an "illegal work stoppage" but the teachers union said they were just working outside.

"This was not a decision the School Committee took lightly," Andover School Committee Chairperson Shannon Scully said in a statement. "We have worked to ensure that our school buildings are safe for our students and staff, and we are well-positioned to enable in-person learning with the district's hybrid learning plan to start the school year. It is our responsibility under Massachusetts law to notify the [Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations] of the union’s action."

The Andover Education Association said in its statement about the vote of no confidence in Superintendent Sheldon Berman that he is showing "persistent disregard for educators."

"He does not respect our professionalism and fails to take a cooperative approach in addressing the many challenges that face the district," the association said. "His behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic has reached a point where his autocratic style of management can no longer be tolerated, as it jeopardizes the health and safety of students, educators, and the community at large."

The association went on to say that Berman has ignored many health and safety concerns raised by both the group and community members.

"He refuses to meaningfully address these concerns as well as the unanswered questions from educators who have documented health issues that will have an impact on their working conditions," the association said in a statement.

Andover schools are scheduled to start a hybrid learning plan Sept. 16.

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