PPS officials are unfortunately making headlines again, this time for the District’s dysfunctional approach to personnel complaints, investigations, and paid administrative leave. PAT has been pushing the District to fix these problems for years.
Given the frequent media mischaracterizations of the role of our union, its important to stress that only PPS can fire its employees, or initiate and pursue investigations. We believe that it’s in everyone’s interest for the District to conduct timely, thorough, and objective investigations of personnel complaints—something we’ve spelled out repeatedly in bargaining. For example, in our last round of negotiations we secured new language requiring the District to conduct prompt investigations, and to provide a reason for putting any educator on administrative leave for more than 10 days. Unfortunately, PPS has repeatedly ignored these requirements, and just like the lead crisis two years ago, administrators continue sweeping problems under the rug.
We will continue to defend everyone’s right to due process, and to fulfill our duty to fairly represent our members. No one should have their professional reputation ruined by unsubstantiated rumors or be tried in the press where they are assumed guilty until proven innocent. We continue to demand that the District do its job of investigating complaints and taking appropriate actions, while adhering to core legal principles like due process and innocent until proven guilty.
Contrary to the media’s insinuations, following the procedures spelled out in our contract doesn’t lead to troubling personnel problems like these, it helps avoid them.