Tensions are running so high as school districts finalize their fall plans amid the coronavirus pandemic that educators in one New Hampshire school district are receiving online threats, according to the state's largest largest teachers union.
Teachers say they want to be back in the classroom more than anyone and they’re not sure why they’ve become the target of people's frustrations.
“It’s an invasion of privacy, number one,” said Robin Vogt, who is a paraeducator at Lincoln Street School in Exeter. “It goes against everything we’ve built with the community.”
Recently, Exeter's school district, SAU 16, made the decision to go fully remote to start the year, and that’s when Vogt and other educators started getting threats on Facebook, according to NEA-New Hampshire, a union that represents more than 17,000 education employees across New Hampshire.
“It was really disheartening,” Vogt said.
“First I was upset, I was mad,” said Megan Tuttle, president of NEA-NH.
She said people are threatening to stalk teachers during the school day to ensure they’re not leaving their homes -- and that’s not all.
“They’re going to be watching them after hours to make sure they have a mask on when they go into a store. Like really?” Tuttle said. “This is the community a lot of teachers live and work in, and raise families in, and this is what they have to deal with when they go outside?”
Vogt can’t believe it’s come to this.
“Every single day, I have to keep an eye open on what may be said about me, pictures that may be taken of me,” he said.
And while most parents support their local educators, Vogt has a message for those who don’t.
“I do understand where the frustration comes and in, and by no means am I saying it’s not warranted, it is warranted, but it’s the way it’s being expressed,” Vogt said.
No one has brought these threats to police, but, Tuttle said, right now, nothing is off the table.