Bristol Warren teachers’ union acknowledges ‘sick out’ at middle school

By Scott Pickering
Posted 2/1/19

Brian Chidester, vice president of the teachers’ union representing employees in the Bristol Warren Regional School District, published the following statement on his Facebook page early this …

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Bristol Warren teachers’ union acknowledges ‘sick out’ at middle school

Posted

Brian Chidester, vice president of the teachers’ union representing employees in the Bristol Warren Regional School District, published the following statement on his Facebook page early this morning. It came a few hours after families in the Bristol Warren school district received a “robocall,” at about 10:20 p.m. on Thursday night, announcing that Kickemuit Middle School would be closed on Friday because of an excessive level of teacher illnesses.

The real story is that teachers staged the “sick out” as a protest against what they say are escalating and unresolved student discipline problems within the school.

Following is what Mr. Chidester posted:

“Full Statement on Kickemuit Middle School closure today (Feb. 1) from Bristol-Warren Education Association co-President Michelle Way DaSilva:

“In regards to the cancellation of classes at Kickemuit Middle School due to ‘a large number of adult illnesses’ on Feb. 1, 2019: Teachers have been concerned about student and staff safety and have engaged in numerous conversations in an attempt to work with administration over the past year and a half to address and resolve these concerns. These attempts by the Bristol Warren Education Association to work with the BWRSD have not resulted in satisfactory actions by the administration to ensure provisions of a well-organized and disciplined school, despite our willingness to be part of a proactive plan to address the escalating behaviors of students at KMS.

“As a result, the BWEA members at KMS have been enduring undue stress and anxiety over their daily frustrations of trying to provide a positive learning experience to all students despite the constant disruptions of a growing number of students. In addition, teachers are also worrying about what could potentially happen next to both students and staff, as injuries have happened as a result of such behavior.

“Dr. Andrade has been understanding of teachers occasionally needing ‘mental health days’ throughout the school year to allow teachers the time needed to regroup and reset to then come back ready to continue to teach and work in the best interest of all students while enduring the rising levels of stress teachers experience on a daily basis at KMS due to student behavior and the ineffective discipline that is currently in place for our most troubled students.

“While teachers are convalescing they are hoping that a viable and guaranteed plan will be put in place that will provide the well-organized and disciplined school that all children and adults can thrive in.”

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Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.