A Michigan teacher was reportedly suspended after encouraging her students to speak to their parents about how cold the school’s classrooms were.
Students complained to Taylor High School teacher Mary Logan about the room’s low temperature, and she urged them to tell their parents about the issue, encouraging them to call the Taylor Board of Education offices if they were cold.
“It’s 58 degrees in here,” said a note that she wrote for her students, according to the News-Herald. “No heat. Call your parents. Tell them to call the board office … If you are cold.”
For the move, Logan was suspended for three days by the district. She was later reinstated.
Teachers will always advocate for their students and they shouldn't be punished for doing so. What parent would want their child sitting in a classroom too cold to learn in?
Linda Moore, president of the Taylor teachers’ union, called the suspension “ridiculous,” reported the News-Herald.
“Our position is that, if (the school district) didn’t like it, they should have given out a statement of what they would like teachers to tell students and parents, then give them a script to read,” she added.
“This teacher was just trying to give her class an education, without spending 55 minutes talking about it being cold.”
Logan, she added, was “right” for doing so, adding that teachers cannot “solve the problem” regarding the classroom’s temperature.
“The board office can solve the problem by making it a priority. And I really don’t think that they’re not making it a priority. It’s just not easy,” she elaborated.
Meanwhile, the suspension “violates” Logan’s “freedom of speech and keeps us from doing our job,” she said, Yahoo News reported.
“They’re there to instruct, but if the conversation is that it’s too cold or it’s too hot, they can’t teach,” she said.
Ben Williams, superintendent of the Taylor School District, said the building construction is the issue.
“What evidently happened—and this predates me by 40 years—is that the district chose to implement an open concept design,” he told the News-Herald. “So none of the classrooms had walls that went all the way up to the ceiling. For whatever reason, the architects at the time thought it’d be a good idea to build the school with this open design.”
He said there are “hot and cold” boxes in the school.
“The short-term solution is to go room-by-room adjusting and optimizing airflow,” Williams added. “We have over 65 classrooms inhabited every hour. On a given day, four to six classrooms run a little hot or cold. In extreme cases, the principal does have discretion to relocate a class.”
Williams would not specifically comment on Logan’s suspension, but he said there are ways for staff to make complaints to the district.
“Two or three work orders make it into the system at the high school each day, with four to five smaller things getting solved in-house. Without the work order, we can’t figure out how to triage for a given problem,” Williams said.
Meanwhile, the teachers’ union filed a complaint with the county over the school district’s actions, Yahoo reported. They agreed to place space heaters in classrooms while a more permanent solution is hashed out.
“She’s a longtime teacher and she now has a reprimand on her file. We’re a district that’s always been a family and it’s causing low morale,” Moore added. She said it’s not an isolated incident, however.
According to her, the “discipline of our teachers and our support staff and the principals has been rampant.”
She continued: “Teachers should not be walking on eggshells when they go to work every day. They’re there to educate, and they need to be building relationships with the districts and their students— now people are afraid of this current administration. ”