Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


July 11, 2013

AHS teacher's firing overturned

School officials weigh appeal as Meagher mulls her future


He said the committee opposes the 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.”

Any discussion of appeal would take place behind closed doors in executive session, Forgue said. No such meeting was scheduled as of Monday afternoon.

Andover schools Superintendent Marinel McGrath refused to comment, saying that Forgue “is the spokesperson for the schools regarding this matter.”

Kerry Costello, president of the Andover Education Association, said she was happy with the outcome because the union “stood up for the rights of our members to engage in protected union activities. We prevailed.”

She added, “A person’s right to engage in protected union activity is sacrosanct for the union, and we stood behind a union member we felt was unjustly terminated for that activity.”

The ruling orders the School Committee to offer Meagher her job back and issue back pay and benefits she lost since getting fired last September.

Highlights of decision

In explaining its decision to order Meagher be rehired, the state board addressed what it characterized as “the administration’s silence on the issue.”

As the high school geared up for a re-accreditation visit from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges last fall, school administrators and faculty were tasked with voting on seven self-study reports, an essential part of the process, prior to the end of the school year.

Many faculty were concerned about what was in the reports because of how contract issues could change them, the decision says. One report’s executive summary, quoted in the decision, said that the pending contract made it so “the future of the Andover High School schedule is unknown.” Because of that, “any alteration to the schedule and/or teaching conditions may impact our ability to achieve our stated learning expectations.”

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