A local chapter of a prominent national teachers’ union has, without explanation, dismissed a grievance filed by a teacher who claimed he was targeted by his school after he criticized a woke training session.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, John Grande, a gym teacher for Hartford Public Schools in Hartford, Connecticut, who has taught for 30 years, claimed that his school threatened to fire him or force him to attend further “sensitivity” training after he criticized a mandatory “privilege” training.
Grande said that he filed a formal complaint against the district back in July but that American Federation of Teachers Local 1018 dismissed it without explanation.
“Our employee handbook explicitly states that no employee of the Hartford public school system will be disciplined for exercising their right to free speech,” Grande told the Free Beacon. “When asked for my reaction to the training, I expressed my disagreement and was punished for doing so.”
Images captured at the training and obtained by the Free Beacon show that teachers were forced to reflect upon the privileges they supposedly enjoy because of their race and sexual orientation, assumptions often made in critical race and gender theory.
“I can choose blemish cover or bandages in ‘flesh’ color and have them more or less match my skin” and “I can go home from meetings, classes, and conversations without feeling excluded, fearful, attacked, isolated, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, stereotyped or feared because of my sexual orientation” are just two example statements that trainees were supposedly required to consider.
Grande said that he expressed his frustration about the training both in his feedback and in conversation with two of his colleagues, who then reported his criticisms to the district.
While Grande filed the complaint shortly after his school threatened to fire him, he had no means of forcing the district to address it since AFT 1018 has the exclusive power to arbitrate grievances with the district, and it has the power to determine which cases it will take.
Grande believes that the union rejected his case to retaliate against him for not joining the union fully. He does pay dues earmarked for contract negotiations with the district, but he is not a full union member so as to avoid paying dues that will then be donated to politicians and political causes he doesn’t support.
“Officials are refusing to represent him simply because he isn’t a member,” said Nathan McGrath, president of the Fairness Center. “John is just asking the union to do its job so he can continue doing his.”