Monthly Archives: February 2018

Teacher improperly allowed "teachable moment" to include discussion of student’s discipline with other students

During Thanksgiving week 2016, students at Stoughton, MA High School were engaged in a school project decorating a Spirit Wall. While this activity was underway, one if the students, “F,” made a swastika out of masking tape and placed it on a recycling bin. Several students, including one who said she was Jewish, objected. F was reported to have said “Well just burn it like they did to the Jews.”

The incident was reported to the Principal and the Dean of Discipline, and F was ultimately suspended.

 On December 1, during F’s suspension, grievant was teaching a Senior  Honors English class. At the beginning of the class, the students were discussing the incident involving F. Grievant was not aware of what had taken place or the nature or extent of any discipline imposed on F. F was not in her class, nor were any of the students who had been present during the incident. According to grievant, her knowledge of the dispute came from her students. Given the student’s discussion grievant decided to try to turn the discussion to a “teachable moment.” She testified she told students that the swastika was a symbol of evil and hate. One of the students informed grievant that F had been suspended for six days. Grievant admittedly participated in the discussion about the length of the discipline, and acknowledged saying that it seemed light. The discussion continued for 10-15 minutes. Realizing that the discussion was not going in the direction she had intended, and that it had become too personal, grievant redirected the class to the day’s lesson.

Upon his return from suspension, F informed the principal that he had been told by other students that grievant had made comments about him. On December 13, grievant’s mothers filed an Incident Form concerning treatment of her son and complaining about comments she alleged grievant had made to her class. The School Superintendent engaged an outside investigator and, after the conclusion of the investigation, issued a Letter of Reprimand to grievant. The letter stated that grievant had violated a provision of the School’s Employee Handbook which provided “As leaders and educators in the Stoughton Public School, we are committed to providing an educational climate that is conducive to student engagement and learning.” The Letter was grieved and the dispute was submitted to Arbitrator Beth Anne Wolfson.

Arbitrator Wolfson upheld the grievance. She noted:

Grievant’s own testimony at the arbitration hearing demonstrated that she engaged in the behavior for which she was disciplined. First, she admitted that when she arrived in her classroom her students were talking about the swastika incident, F’s behavior, and his discipline. Second, although she attempted to redirect the discussion into one concerning universal concepts about the swastika she admittedly failed to accomplish this as the student’s discussion continued in the context of what F did and what discipline he purportedly received. Third, Grievant admitted she participated in the discussion concerning the length of F’s suspension. Accepting as true Grievants statements that she said the discipline seemed light in terms of what had happened to students in other schools does not change then fact that  her comment was made during discussion of a specific student and not in a broader or more general context. Finally, Grievant allowed the discussion F to continue for 10 or 15 minutes when she admittedly should have stopped it sooner.

Arbitrator Wolfson also rejected the arguments of the Teacher’s Association that grievant’s in-class speech was protected by the First Amendment and that grievant had not violated F’s privacy rights, observing:

…the Employer did not discipline Grievant for violating F’s privacy rights. It disciplined her for failing to provide the appropriate educational climate, for failing to perform her roles and responsibilities as a teacher, and form failing to exercise sound judgment, all based on her not failing to stop the conversation her class specific to F, but also for joining in.

  Arbitrator Wolfson’s award in Stoughton Teachers Association and Stoughton School Committee can be found here.

Source: ADR

Kicking Off 2018 with INTA Week


INTA Staff during INTA Week 
​I am truly honored and proud to serve you all as INTA President this year. 

My involvement at INTA started 18 years ago. Over the years, I’ve participated on many different committees, project teams, and, eventually, the Board of Directors. These varied experiences have provided me with a strong foundation to lead the Association through its first year with the new 2018–2021 Strategic Plan. In the January 15 INTA Bulletin, I shared with you all my priorities for the year and my vision for our community. 

To kick off my year as President, I traveled to the INTA headquarters in New York City for “INTA week.” In a newly established INTA tradition, all of the international staff travel to New York for a week of in-person meetings, team building… and a little fun! This is the third year that all members of the INTA staff have come together for INTA week. It was an extremely busy and productive five days, setting the tone for the year ahead in INTA style! As a newcomer to INTA week, the enthusiasm is contagious. It was like a family reunion in the office with positive energy radiating throughout the hallways. 

During this time, I had the opportunity to meet with the various departments, including education, finance and administration, marketing and communication, legal resources, external relations, membership, policy, and our regional representative offices. Talk about information overload—I learned so much! It was humbling to see just how knowledgeable, strategic, and dedicated the staff are. It was also very insightful to learn from staff who oversee the myriad of initiatives we will undertake in 2018 and to hear how they will work with the many member volunteers to implement the goals of our new strategic plan. We’re in good hands! 

StaffGiveBackBlog 020118.jpgOf course, we took some breaks from our work too—as part of the team-building program, staff spent time filling backpacks with winter necessities (i.e., hats, gloves, energy bars, etc.) for those in need this winter season in New York City. These have been given to a local charity called Care for the Homeless. It was a great to watch staff come together to give back. This is an Association with heart. 

While I learned a lot about the staff and their work, I also took some time to share with them a little bit more about me, which I plan to do over the course of the year with the membership at large. INTA is a community, and I have been fortunate to make so many wonderful friends throughout my many years as a member. For those of you whom I haven’t had the chance to meet, I’d encourage you to stop me in my travels over the next year and introduce yourselves or simply say “hi” in the hallways of INTA’s Annual Meeting in May

I am your President this year, and I will work to make sure that your voices are heard. I’ll leave you all with my welcome video so that you can learn a bit more about my professional career, my involvement with INTA, and my thoughts on the year ahead.

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Published: 2/1/2018 12:32 PM

Source: TM NEWS

The Economic Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy


​The Economic Impacts of Counterfeiting and Piracy, a report commissioned by INTA and ICC-BASCAP, builds on the findings of a 2016 report by the OECD and EUIPO that looked at the scope of counterfeiting and piracy in international trade. 

INTA produced the below educational video to promote the study. The video introduces the concept of counterfeiting, explains its negative social and economic impacts, and ends with calls to action for government officials, business leaders, and consumers. The video has also been incorporated into an interactive exhibit on trademark education and counterfeiting the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame​ in Alexandria, Virginia. Approximately 30,000 visitors are expected to see the display, which runs through May 2019.

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Category: Counterfeiting
Published: 2/1/2018 9:45 AM
BlogTag: Counterfeit; Counterfeiting; Unreal

Source: TM NEWS