Mary Logan, a high school teacher in Michigan, was placed on administrative leave after encouraging her students to call their parents to complain about the cold classrooms if they were uncomfortable.
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, her students entered her classroom one day to be met with a note instructing them to contact their parents and tell them to contact the school board if they were cold.
“It’s 58 degrees in here. No heat. Call your parents. Tell them to call the board office … if you are cold,” the teacher’s note explained.
After the Taylor School District received several phone calls from parents expressing concerns about the temperatures in the classroom, Logan was suspended – with pay – for three days. A disciplinary reprimand was also placed in her file.
“It violates her freedom of speech and keeps us from doing our job. They’re there to instruct, but if the conversation is that it’s too cold or it’s too hot, they can’t teach,” Linda Moore, the president of the Taylor Federation of Teachers, said as she defended Logan’s actions to Yahoo Lifestyle.
According to The News-Herald, the temperature issues within the classrooms at the high school are the result of the “open design” concept that was originally used when the school was constructed. In time, the school district did away with the open concept. This, however, resulted in some classrooms having vents while others were left with no direct heat source.
Speaking to The News-Herald, Taylor School District superintendent Ben Williams revealed the school is home to more than 65 classes that house students every hour of every day. He continued to explain that it was not a widespread problem, as somewhere between four and six classrooms tend to run a little warmer or cooler then what would be considered ideal. He also acknowledged that if a room becomes especially uncomfortable the class can be relocated elsewhere.
Linda Moore confirms the temperature issues have been reported to the school board, but nothing has been done to fix the problem.
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While Williams refused any requests to comment on the decision to suspend Logan, he did explain that there is a process in place for staff to use when they wish to make a complaint. Following her suspension, the teacher’s union filed paperwork, which forced the district to put space heaters in all the classrooms while a better solution could be sorted out.
According to Moore, the suspension of Logan is not an isolated incident and is a bit of a problem within the district. She continued to exclaim that teachers could hardly be expected to do their job when they were “walking on eggshells.”