Teachers union calls school board behavior "unprofessional"
The head of the teachers union calls the Lee County School Board "unprofessional" after heated meeting filled with accusations, name calling.Photo: Video by fox4now.com
FORT MYERS - The head of the teachers union is calling the Lee County School Board "unprofessional" after an explosive, heated meeting Tuesday that involved accusations and name calling.
Using words like "disgusting," "despicable," and "repulsed", board members lashed into each other.
"I've got the floor here excuse me," board member Don Armstrong said to fellow board member Jeanne Dozier pointing a finger at her. "You do look a little nervous. Is there something you'd like to tell us?"
The back and forth bickering began with an anonymous letter. That led to board members Jane Kuckel and Jeanne Dozier to call for an independent investigation into Superintendent Joseph Burke.
Kuckel claims Burke misappropriated money and showed favoritism towards an employee. Burke says he didn't do anything wrong.
"Dr Kuckel wants us to share her discomfort," said board member Tom Scott. "I'm not discomforted I'm repulsed...It's all being done for personal, political, manipulation reasons."
Armstrong called it a "witch hunt."
"They're acting like children," one parent said after picking up her daughter from elementary school. "We don't want our children to act that way."
"It seems like they're attacking him [Burke] right out of the box," another parent said. "And I'm a little concerned about that."
Also concerned is Mark Castellano, the president of the Teachers Association of Lee County. Reached by phone, he says he's not happy with the board's behavior.
"They acted very unprofessionally the other night," said Castellano. "And they need to simply act civil and professional. We can't afford this. We don't have time for this."
"Dr. Burke I apologize for what you've been put through," said Scott at Tuesday's meeting.
Dozier told the board she felt "bullied."
"I hope we just get back to business and move forward with running our school district," the parent said. "So my children and other children can get the education they deserve."