Submitted as a press release by Curtis Hier
Fair Haven — A member of the Slate Valley Unified School District board is calling for the expansion of whistleblower protection for state employees to cover all school employees. Currently, state employees are protected from retaliation for reporting “waste, fraud, abuse of authority, violations of law, or a threat to the health of employees, the public, or persons under the care of the State without fear of reprisal.” Curtis Hier, who was elected to the school board in March, said the protection is needed for what gets witnessed in schools.
“I can honestly say that I’ve had school employees in the district report to me every single one of those things,” Hier said. “But they almost always request that I don’t reveal their names.”
Hier has written to his state representative and state senators to ask them to support legislation to curb restraint and seclusion in schools, as well as the possibility of drafting legislation to expand whistleblower protection. He says he got a quick and favorable response from Senator Terry Williams (R-Rutland). Williams noted that the whistleblower language “should be easy to fix.”
Slate Valley and Hier have been at odds over the dismissal of a teacher, a physical attack by a teacher on a student, and the use of restraint and seclusion in the schools. “The forced resignation of the special education teacher is exactly what whistleblower protection should prevent,” Hier noted.
Attention to restraint and seclusion practices began when Hier posted a picture of the “blue room” at Fair Haven Grade School. The post prompted many comments from parents and former students. Hier began requesting redacted documents regarding restraint and seclusion. He will be heading to court to try to force their release.
The Slate Valley school board and administration has pushed back on Hier. In July, the board passed a resolution asking him to resign. It has also supported a request by an office secretary asking for Hier’s emails, texts, and the release of his personnel file from when he taught in the district.
Categories: Press Release