The SF School District threatens a sub-teacher with legal action

This is so ridiculous, I don’t even want to comment, but I will say Stehly is consulting an attorney with expertise in these matters.

The gist of the letter is about a flyer Stehly wants to hand out at Thursday’s sub-teacher inservice;

Basically, Stehly is asking subs get a raise. That’s it. But the school district responded with a letter from their legal advisor, which quotes a bunch of Supreme Court cases about public property. The letter was truly a scare tactic. (click on image to enlarge)


Since when is it illegal for an independent contractor, like a substitute teacher, organize other substitutes in asking for a raise?

Apparently the administration of the SF school district either hasn’t read George Orwell’s ’1984′ or if they have, they implemented it as school policy. Either way, their claims are a stretch.

This is what happened. Someone (Stehly) finally questioned Dr. Homan’s misleading statements to the public (about sub teacher pay) and she didn’t like being called out.

Quote all the court cases in the world, the First Amendment is pretty clear;

“The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.”

Other policies the school district quotes; KDDR, and KF.

20 comments ↓

#1 caheidelberger on 08.01.12 at 7:23 am

I don’t know, guys: Stehly is right that subs are getting the short end of the stick, but the district is right about the public spaces argument. No travel agent can walk into my French classroom on school time and try selling my students tickets to France without administration permission. No union rep can walk into an in-service meeting dedicated to curriculum planning, interrupt the principal, and make the union recruiting pitch. (Well, one could, but the administration would be justified in tossing the pitcher out.)

To reach the subs, Stehly could pay her lawyer to raise hell and try to force the school to let her distribute the flyers in the hallway prior to the subs meeting. Or she could go the cheap route, put out the word with blog posts like this, and work the sidewalk tomorrow morning.

#2 Lamb Chislic on 08.01.12 at 8:48 am

Quite the acerbic tone and legalize in the letter from IPC! Nixon would be proud of how Pam Homan is using her minions to run interference with Theresa.

I agree with Cory’s assessment on Theresa’s options, with one more to add: Theresa needs to run for school board. She is exactly the kind of passionate, no b-s representative that the taxpayers need. The school district gets and spends the largest portion of our property tax dollars. It would be nice, for once, not to have a body of IPC-rubberstampers. This is where Theresa could be most impactful. We need somebody who is looking out for the teachers and the taxpayers, and not just the administration!

#3 Craig on 08.01.12 at 9:17 am

Hate to say it l3wis, but the district is correct – Stehly does not have an inherent right to distribute her materials on school property or during an official meeting. I mentioned this before – her rights as a private citizen do not supercede the districts rights to control what occurs on their property. Cory is right – these policies are in place to prevent people from thinking they can just walk in to any public facility and start passing out flyers.

We don’t have to like it, but I totally agree with the policy because if it didn’t exist I can just imagine everyone from the Alpha Center to Planned Parenthood to McDonalds to Scheels would have people passing out flyers in school hallways.

“Since when is it illegal for an independent contractor, like a substitute teacher, organize other substitutes in asking for a raise?”

Who said it was? The act of trying to organize isn’t illegal (nor does this letter from the district suggest it is). Her methods are what is being called into question.

It seems obvious there is a lot of confusion surrounding the First Amendment here. Nobody is preventing anyone from speaking, but there is a time and place for everything. If Theresa wishes to pass out her flyers on the sidewalk before and after the meeting she sure can – and if she wants to organize an offsite meeting for substitute teachers to discuss these issues she can do that too.

#4 Testor15 on 08.01.12 at 9:29 am

Threats and intimidation are the tools of the insecure. Holman is only interested in keeping her special contract clauses at the expense of the lower pecking order employees / contractors.

Holman does not care about the students of employees save a few special ones. Look at the Argus Paywall headline on Tuesday, the want to close the neighborhood schools again. If the schools were empty or too small there might be an issue to discuss but they are not.

It is another chance to rationalize more staff in the precious consolidated school district office. Since the bureaucracy started to grow in the ILC (?) the students and teachers have become less important to the superintendent and board. Out of sight – out of mind. They don’t have to be involved in the lives of the underclass / undereducated when the central office never has to look at the messes they create.

So let’s make some more stupid decisions about more buildings and screw the teachers who in turn can’t help the students.

#5 Testor15 on 08.01.12 at 9:30 am

“students of employees” should have read “students or employees”

#6 l3wis on 08.01.12 at 11:02 am

She has been advised to stay on the public sidewalk, which she is going to do. I feel this is a different situation though. Stehly, who is a sub, is only handing out the above flyer to encourage other subs to ask for a raise. She isn’t selling GS cookies, insurance or the Alpha center, she is simply talking to her peers about a raise, and they are blowing it out of proportion.

#7 l3wis on 08.01.12 at 11:19 am

Also, the SFSD won’t give Stehly the contact list of all the subs. She asked for it and would have preferred to call them one by one, but they have left her no choice but to talk to them at an inservice. Unlike the full-time teachers, the sub list is private and cannot be shared with other subs, according to the SFSD.

#8 Pathloss on 08.01.12 at 11:31 am

No doubt we’re headed out from democracy. Local government no longer serves the people. The only answer here is revolution. Where’s the print & broadcast media? Time for InHoman to go.

#9 Pathloss on 08.01.12 at 11:36 am

Say when & where Theresa. Post here, the only free press. I’ll march with you. Give me liberty or give me jail time if you can make the charges stick.

#10 Craig on 08.01.12 at 11:38 am

Perhaps you should help her establish a registration site or forum online that the subs could use to communicate this type of material and where they could have open discussion about the issues facing them.

The problem I see is some subs probably want to get involved, but they don’t want to be perceived as a troublemaker, so they will distance themselves from Stehly while secretly supporting her. You might even find that subs are reluctant to take a flyer or speak with her when others are watching, but they may still like to be in communication.

Finally, she should register a new email address on the Outlook.com platform that MS just opened up. She could be SiouxFallsSubstitutes@Outlook.com or something clever. That way they can build a mailing list based upon a simple email address that is easy to remember.

#11 Pathloss on 08.01.12 at 11:45 am

Clarification somebody: How is SF school district separate from Sioux Falls city government? If it’s the same organization, they have no access to the courts per Supreme Court ruling. In other words, the district’s lawyer has no enforcement capability.

#12 l3wis on 08.01.12 at 11:47 am

Theresa and computers, oh boy, I don’t want to get into that . . . Craig, I agree with your sentiment, but I have often been baffled about the fear of Homan. I pay her wages, she has to listen to me and others in the public, especially the employees she manages. I hope if anything is learned from this is that Homan is not the supreme ruler, the taxpayers and the employees of the district are.

#13 l3wis on 08.01.12 at 11:51 am

PL, they are separate.

#14 Alice15 on 08.01.12 at 3:20 pm

Homan is not the supreme ruler? Tell that to the school board that is suppose to be her checks and balances and never once questions her on anything during school board meetings. It is truly a waste of public service time. I have heard from past board members and heard through the rumor mill that current board members will not continue on the school board as it is “too much.” What? Public service is about “serving” not sitting there with your thumb up your wahzoo. If your goal was to make a differnce when you ran for school board – well, get going – because this woman is running all over you and doing exactly what she wants and when she wants. And..as we see in this situation, someone demands something different and the bully tactics kick in. Classy.

#15 Detroit Lewis on 08.01.12 at 3:32 pm

Testor makes a good point;

“Homan is only interested in keeping her special contract clauses at the expense of the lower pecking order employees / contractors.”

She doesn’t like the fact the public knowing about all the pay increases and the special treatment the regular staff is getting when it comes to sub pay.

#16 Pathloss on 08.01.12 at 4:36 pm

Sounds like there should be a flash mob at Washington High. I suspect Homan is looking for a cushy retirement resignation. They get to the top, cheat the public, then retire making as much as they did working. In her case, she can ‘fool around’ with her horses & stay an old maid the rest of her life.

#17 Detroit Lewis on 08.01.12 at 9:44 pm

Stehly met with Simons today about what she is doing tomorrow. She told me the district is fine with it, as long as she stays to the confines of the sidewalk. The SFPD also called Stehly, and will have a presence tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM. Stehly welcomed them. She said her meeting with Simons was recorded and Stehly will get a copy of it. She said while the meeting had it’s moments of confrontation, she said it was VERY PRODUCTIVE.

#18 Dan Daily on 08.02.12 at 2:50 pm

Recordings always disappear unless it’s doctored to favor them. Use a court reporter for meetings. They’re $35/hour. Their record is always court accepted. SFPD is intimidation. They harrassed me 13 times one year with no obvious infraction. It’s always 2 in your face beefy cops. I like Craig’s (#10) suggestion. Subs could post by blog name but have their email kept anonymous. Flash mob demonstrations could occur without alerting the school board or SFPD.

#19 Pathloss on 08.02.12 at 2:59 pm

Stehly must be careful. It’s easier negotiating with the mafia. Quit and let it go. Sub for Harrisburg and lead other subs there. I suspect this is not an option she’ll consider.

#20 Detroit Lewis on 08.03.12 at 12:05 am

She will never quit. Why give into them?

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