An online petition with over a 1,000 signatures has been circulating on www.actionnetwork.org and sponsored by the Revere Teachers association calling for contracts to be renewed for three Revere educators.
The petition and subsequent letter to the Revere School Committee argues that the contracts of Katie Cochrane, Victoria DeVincent and Heather Kantrowitz, all staff members at the A.C. Whelan School were not renewed as retaliation for their union activities.
“On June 5, 2020, three Revere staff members at the A. C. Whelan school had their contracts non-renewed as retaliation for their union activity,” reads the online petition. “They were punished for standing up for the rights of teachers and students in the 2019-2020 school year. We call on the Revere Public Schools to immediately reinstate these three educators.”
Cochrane, a 5th grade ELA and Science & Social Studies teacher, has been with the district since 2016. DeVincent, a 4th grade ELA and Science & Social Studies teacher, has been with the district since 2014. Kantrowitz, a K-5 school adjustment counselor, has been with the district since 2016 when she covered for another teacher’s maternity leave.
“Aside from being hard-working and dedicated staff members, all of them have one other thing in common: they took a stand against unfair practices and raised their voice as union members this year,” said the statement. “They filed grievances, spoke at rallies, and all were outspoken in their concern. They protested against wrongful policies by their administrator which hurt student learning. They went above and beyond every day in their jobs and also took the risk of advocating for their working conditions, and for the learning conditions of their students.”
In a statement from the Revere Teachers Association the group wrote, “We the undersigned call on the Revere Public Schools to renew Heather Kantrowitz, Katie Cochrane, and Victoria DeVincent to their positions for the upcoming school year. All of these educators have done fantastic work for the A.C. Whelan school this year, and they deserve to remain in their jobs. Furthermore, their non renewals are blatant attempts to punish these three for their union activism. These educators deserve their jobs. Their students deserve their teachers. We all deserve the right to make our schools a better place.”
While the Revere Public School Department does not comment on individual personnel matters, Revere Public School Superintendent Dr. Dianne Kelly did say every year administrators review all teachers, as well as staff without professional teacher status, to determine which teachers will return to work for the next school year.
“This year was no different than the previous years in that some teachers without professional teacher status were issued notices of non-renewal for the upcoming school year,” said Kelly. “When determining which personnel will return administrators do not consider any individual’s union activity or use of the contractual grievance procedures.”
The Revere Teachers Association is planning a “Car Rally” on Thursday, June 18 at 1 p.m. at Revere High School in response to the non-renewed contracts.
The caravan will wind through Revere and end at the Whelan School by 2 p.m.
In a statement Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo said, “Our school system is one of our city’s greatest assets — providing a high quality education to our thousands of current students and attracting new families to Revere all the time. I’m proud of the work Dr. Kelly and her teams do in applying the sound policies that continue to move Revere Public Schools forward.”