Memo from Fresno Unified's Superintendent

September 30, 2008 7:32:38 PM PDT
Fresno Unified is doing its best to keep morale up among teachers and staff following several recent incidents. Just this month alone there have been three high profile occurrences.On September tenth a special education teacher at Mayfair Elementary was arrested and cited for indecent exposure. Police say Mark Greene had been drinking at his home and was outside naked.

Last week the principal at Vinland Elementary School was charged with battery on a child. Mary Dougherty is accused of pulling the hair of one of her students.

Also last week at Tioga Middle School a list of curse words were handed out to students. The teacher wrote the words as part of a lesson and told students not to use them.

Now Superintendent Michael Hanson is reminding all district employees that when it comes to their conduct, the expectation is high. The message was part of a district-wide memo that is not being well-received by some district employees.

Recent incidents involving Fresno Unified staff have left district employees like Kelly Castro embarrassed.

Kelly Castro said, "Kind of makes us look bad, the district itself and the employees ... and not everybody is that way and we kind of all get generalized I think."

In response to the negative publicity Superintendent Michael Hanson sent out this memo Monday morning it reads, in part:

I need to remind you that our community relies on us to be leaders, and to set the example for our students, families and community. We must continue to be a shining example of professionalism for those we serve.

Greg Gadams President of the Fresno Teachers Association says the memo is sending a mixed message.

Greg Gadams said, "You're basically being told get in line and follow the piper and they don't want to know that maybe something isn't going in the right direction."

He's referring to a line of the memo that reads as a colleague in our great district, please always be on the lookout to help others exercise sound judgment and decision making.

Gadams says a culture of fear and intimidation at Fresno Unified often keeps teachers quiet especially when those behaving badly are administrators.

Greg Gadams said, "If you do speak up somebody is going to get on you for having done it."

But while Gadams says some teachers found the memo offensive. Parent and substitute teacher Alicia Sosa believes Hanson's message was encouraging and appropriate.

Alica Sosa said, "It's his job to say you know, don't forget we are examples in the community and for our students, I think if he didn't do that he wouldn't be doing his job."

An official w

ith Fresno Unified says the memo was sent by Superintendent Hanson with the best of intentions and they have received only positive feedback from district employees.

Read the Entire Memo from Superintendent Michael E. Hanson

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