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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.
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My teaching contract was not renewed due to a poor evaluation

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My teaching contract was not renewed due to a poor evaluation by my principal. However, the very things that he wrote me up for are the same things that are considered past precident in my district. He did not write up other special education teachers who were doing the same thing-teaching students. The big difference is that my students were enrolled in my co-taught inclusion classes while the other teachers were helping students who were not enrolled in their classes nor they even identified as special education students. This principal also told me to resign, or he would not stand behind me with students. He had not been following through on my detentions as it was, so I refused to resign. The union rep even asked him if he was threatening me. I have been very stressed, so I have been unable to discuss this before now. What can I do? I was a first year teacher at that school.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer!

Is your union going to file a grievance on your behalf?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

No, because I was not tenured. Also, one union rep was there for most of the meetings. She was no help. I asked another teacher, the union president, to attend. I also went to the superintendent. The special education teacher went to board members on my behalf, as well as the five teachers that I worked with. I have four letters to the board on my behalf, as well as one letter from a parent and one parent who spoke directly to the board during a board meeting. Also, the students gathered a petition to keep me, but I am sure that it was trashed.


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I am sorry, I meant the special education supervisor. I am the special education teacher. I had worked in the classroom with the union president previously, so I asked him to attend, as I felt that the union rep was not being fair. The superintendent listened, but did not support me before the board. The vote against renewing my contract was 2 for, 5 against. Also, I was only allowed to converse with my mentor teacher for 15 days., not the year with weekly meetings that the law suggests. The principal also asked for my resignation, concluding with the statement that he would not support me with the students. He did not follow through on most of my disciplines or detentions. He also would send a class to the library rather that have me take over the class when there were no substitute teachers available. Then, he pulled me out of inclusion classes to take over the other teacher's classes. He did not want to pay me for extra duty. He was targeting me, as he had already resigned in January. He stayed in office until June. I would like to know about harrassment and bullying in the workplace. I would also like to know my options. Thank you.


Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 7 years ago.
How do you believe that you were subjected to illegal harassment and bullying in your workplace?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

1. the principal did not follow past precident.

2. He would berate me for following his example in providing positive behavior support.

3. He told me that he would not support me when I needed assistance with behavior. Instead, he tore up the detentions and gave the students candy. He had a nice visit with them. When I asked him about it, he would not give a solid answer.

4. Other teachers were doing the same thing that I was doing, and they were not written up for it.

5. He violated the tenure act in about every way that he could. I did not know that I had a deadline in protesting his actions.

6. Other teachers told me that he was targeting me, that he had done this before, and that I was the only one not protected by the union that he could attack. They told me that he was a bully. They were right.

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 7 years ago.
Why do you think you were treated this way?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I am not sure. He was the one that hired me based on my performance as a substitute teacher and summer school teacher. He was moved to the high school from the middle school in October, as the superintendent had been serving in both positions. The minute he found something that he could berate me about, he did. I felt that I was his "whipping boy". He was so unclear-I was supposed to work with only students who were on my caseload, but I was also supposed to co-teach a classroom. What was I supposed to do when students requested assistance? It seemed that no matter what I did, he berated me. The teachers that I worked with (my co-teachers) all wrote letters of recommendation for me to the school board, but I could not satisfy him. I followed past prededent, and he berated me for that.

Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 7 years ago.
Okay, thanks.

From the facts that you describe, you were an at-will employee. This means that you could leave your job at any time for any reason or no reason. It also means that your employer could terminate you (or not renew your contract) for any reason so long as it was not because of your race, age, gender, disability, national origin, etc. But everything else is free game.

From the facts you describe, there was nothing illegal about your contract being renewed. I understand that it may seem to be unfair and unjust. And it is. But it is not illegal.

Also, it is not illegal for a boss to be a jerk or a bully -- so long as it's not because of your race, age, disability, gender, national origin, etc. From the facts you describe, your boss was a jerk but not an illegal jerk.

I'm sorry that I could not give you better information but you have no recourse to pursue in trying to get a new contract with them. They have no legal obligation to give you a new contract.

I wish you well and hope that you find this information to be helpful. I also hope that you find this answer to be ACCEPTable!
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