Sunday, August 19, 2007

Aldine teachers' union leader arrested in front of school

She made the mistake of talking to teachers:

The trouble began Monday (Aug. 13) when school district officials informed Aldine American Federation of Teachers staff that they could not hand out membership information on school property at Aldine High School, where the district held its new teacher orientation.

The next day, the Aldine superintendent circled the high school with police officers. Aldine AFT staff and member volunteers patiently waited for teachers to finish the event, and when they emerged, one teacher directly asked for some literature. When an Aldine AFT staff member stepped onto school property to hand her a brochure, district officers swarmed around her and threatened her with a citation. Mayorga drove up to the scene on public property and asked an officer what was happening. The officer asked for her identification, and when she questioned why he needed it, he manhandled her, cuffed her and arrested her.

Carmen Mayorga, president of AFT Local 6345, was arrested, handcuffed, and charged with "failure to identify." Her car was impounded and she was held in jail 14 hours before being released, the union said. All of the 800+ members of Local 6345 work for the Aldine ISD, near Houston. The union is considering legal action against the school district over the incident. Texas AFT President Linda Bridges:

Surely the Aldine school district’s police force has better things to do. The superintendent is using [the local police department] to intimidate and coerce employees and their representatives and impede their exercise of constitutional rights of free speech and freedom of association. What is [Aldine School] Superintendent Wanda Bamberg so afraid of that she feels the need to handcuff and rough up a 115-pound mother of three just for coming near a school?

This sounds like something out of the old union-busting days in the 1920s, or even worse, past attempts to stifle free speech on public school campuses.

What is the purpose of this thuggish action by school officials and local police? They're not protecting or serving anything with this brute display of intimidation.

Now the taxpayers of the Aldine ISD will see their tax dollars spent to defend an unnecessary lawsuit instead of educating their children.

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