To the Editor:
As a 35 year veteran of the teaching profession (retired) as well as a local union president (East Haven Education Association) for over 25 years, I feel the need to respond to some of the information put forth in your article regarding Clinton teachers complaints.
Let me start by saying that my heart goes out to the Clinton Community on the tragic loss of a beloved teacher and my prayers are for his family. I must say however that I find it inappropriate for that story to be associated with an article about past teacher grievances.
After reading the article as well as many written responses to it, I believe that clarification is necessary about the teacher grievance process. A few points to consider…
Most contracts in CT have an initial step in the grievance procedure which is informal and verbal. Just because a written grievance doesn’t exist doesn’t mean that the Association did not advocate for the teacher. I worked with Gloria Dimon on many occasions. More often than not no paperwork was filed.
The other thing that your article does not address is the fact that even great teachers make mistakes. Often, those mistakes are indefensible. At times the best a union representative can do is to attempt to negotiate a reasonable punishment for an admitted mistake in a teacher’s judgement. In my experience, the union is usually successful in those attempts.
Finally, the characterization of Gloria Dimon as someone who does anything less than fully and aggressively represent teachers is completely false in my opinion. She has spend 26 years as a staunch supporter of the teachers of Connecticut and does not deserve to have her dedication questioned in such an unsubstantiated way.
The editor responds: As has been reported in the original news story, on social media, and in an editorial, CT Examiner was contacted by a number of teachers currently employed by Clinton schools and employed in the past. Since the original story detailing those complaints was published, CT Examiner has been contacted by additional teachers reporting similar incidents in other districts involving Dimon. We stand by our reporting.