Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

July 18, 2013

Committee issues no decision on Meagher appeal

School officials resuming discussions Friday

By Dustin Luca

---- — The School Committee met behind closed doors Monday afternoon to discuss a state board’s recent decision ordering the town to rehire fired Andover High School English teacher Jen Meagher.

Committee Chairman Dennis Forgue said no decision on the next step, including whether to appeal the ruling, was made, and a follow-up closed-door meeting has been scheduled for Friday at 8 a.m.

The School Committee has until the end of July — 30 days after the issuance of the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board’s ruling that Meagher be reinstated and reimbursed for back pay and benefits — to file an appeal before the state Appeals Court.

Meagher was fired last September after an internal School Department investigation determined she encouraged a work stoppage by sending a private email to faculty urging them to abstain from voting on high school re-accreditation reports. In October, the teachers union — Andover Education Association — filed a grievance with the Department of Labor Relations, saying the email was protected, concerted union activity.

Forgue has said the committee opposes the Employment Relations Board’s decision because it “failed to acknowledge that a teacher shouldn’t be permitted to place the re-accreditation process at risk to create pressure for collective bargaining demands.”