Parents of J.E. Turner Elementary School were outraged after a meeting with Mobile County Public School Superintendent Martha Peek Monday, June 2, concerning the mandatory transfer of 20 teachers.
Parents believe the teachers requested transfers because of the school’s principal, Missy Nolen.
“If this continues and Mrs. Nolen is in office when next year rolls around, my child will be pulled out of school,” one parent voiced.
Earlier in the year, more than two dozen teachers filed a grievance against Nolen for “being harassed and subjected to a hostile work environment”.
“Twenty-six signed a grievance, and a lot of the teachers who signed that grievance were given a mandatory transfer,” said Danny Goodwin with the Alabama Education Association.
Teacher of the year quits
The 2014 Mobile County Public School System’s teacher of the year, Lauren Brannan, taught at J.E. Turner Elementary until December when she quit.
“These teachers were some of the best colleagues I’ve worked with, and it’s a shame what’s been allowed to happen this year, and it’s a shame what’s going on right now, and I’m so sorry for all these parents and students,” Brannan said.
Brannan said she left the school because she was going home from work with chest pains. Monday night, she was in tears.
“Seeing what my colleagues were going through (with) blood pressure problems, anxiety issues. They’ve been bullied,” Brannan said.
Superintendent Peek said the teachers who received transfers will have a choice to stay or go, but Brannan has a different opinion.
“There’s a different between voluntary and mandatory. Mandatory transfers mean you have to pack your stuff and leave and hope that administrator will hire you. Central office was here when they packed their things,” Brannan said.
Peek doesn’t address parent’s concerns
When asked about the principal, Peek wouldn’t address parent’s concerns.
“I’m not addressing concerns tonight. I was here to provide information,” Peek said.
FOX10 News asked Peek if she’d ever had 20 teachers want to leave one school, she said it’s not uncommon. FOX10 News also asked why she didn’t answer parent’s questions.
Peek said, “It’s not the forum I set up or the format I came to talk about.”
Not everyone is upset with the way things are being run at the school. One parent said she fully supports Nolan.
“I have no complaints against her. I want her to stay at our school I think she is a fresh, young, new face to our school and think she can take our school to the next level,” the parent said.
Goodwin said the majority of the teachers given transfers want to stay but if they do, they want to see a change.
“We’ve worked the entire year resolution, and we have not had that. They need to know something is going to change in order to stay there,” Goodwin said. “I have met with them this afternoon to assign attorneys to meet with them.”
Nolen was not at Monday night’s meeting.