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Guilford County Public Schools

Guilford County Public Schools Gestapo?

New story received on May 23, 2000 from Guilford County (Please note article, listed below, was written three years ago!) When will this rein of terror stop? Things just never change, do they?

The Terror Continues!

Name: [name redacted]
E-mail: [redacted]
Date: 05/23/00
Anonymous: Yes
Post: Yes
State: North Carolina
County: Guilford
District: Guilford Co

They are continuing to call teachers in with the Assoc. Superintendent of Administrative Services, [name redacted] and the Head of Personnel, [name redacted], and grill them and accuse them of things that never happened or are changed around. They refuse to let teachers back that are medically cleared three times from a doctor. They call teachers in and won't tell them what the meeting is about, are hostile, threaten to investigate, refuse to allow anyone else in there, and just in general bully the teacher.

The following HORRIFYING article, is being re-printed here with the kind permission of The Rhinoceros Times of Greensboro, North Carolina. Be sure to visit the site of this TRULY GREAT American Newspaper ( - one that has the GUTS to exercise our nation's constitutional right of free speech and freedom of the press.

You may also wish to note the name of the Guilford County Public Schools Superintendent, listed in the article below and then see if THIS MAY BE THE SAME GUY MENTIONED on the ASEE Maryland page as new Superintendent of the Montgomery County Public Schools! If so, is this a GREAT AMERICAN or what?!


Byline by: William Hammer, Publisher, Rhinoceros Times
Greensboro, North Carolina
Published: April 3, 1997

"The terror. The fear. They don't know what to do. They are scared to death. The crying. I can’t take the crying. I can’t take it." This is how Raymond Schwartz characterized Guilford County school teachers’ encounters with school administrators and their "firing specialists."

Schwartz is one of the two local North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) representatives responsible in part for seeing that teachers and other school employees are treated fairly by the school administration.

According to the local NCAE office, approximately 65 percent of Guilford County school teachers are members of the association and pay $260 annually in part to have Schwartz available to them when the administration challenges their actions or investigates an incident in which they were involved.

Last year The Rhino Times printed numerous teachers’ stories of being hauled into "inquisition styled" hearings during which they were confronted by attorneys who questioned them about incidents that they often had no knowledge of. These teachers were often forced to resign. Teachers described the sessions with the attorneys as "Nazi like" and many said the experience was the most traumatic of their life. Several teachers who had been long time residents of Greensboro moved out of town after these sessions because in their own words, they couldn't’ bear to be here anymore.

The reasons that these teachers say they are subjected to this treatment varies. But in general, it seems to be an otherwise insignificant incident.

In one case, a teacher with over 20 years experience was accused of cursing a student. Another case involved a teacher bumping in to a student in a crowded hallway.

The common factor is age. The teachers that The Rhino Times spoke with, have all been over 40. This has led some to believe that there is a conscientious effort to eliminate older teachers from the school system. The large number of experienced teachers has been cited by school staff as a reason Guilford County has one of the highest per pupil cost in the state.

If the administration is willing to close good schools in order to reduce the per pupil cost, it is not much of a stretch to believe that they would be willing to eliminate good teachers as well.

Schwartz spoke to The Rhino Times on Monday about his experiences with the Guilford County School system. He confirmed much of what the teachers have said. He is one of the few witnesses to the so called "hearings" that is not employed by the school system.

The school administration has denied that the sessions occurred as portrayed by the teachers. However the school acknowledges that it did spend over $400,000 last school year to pay a Raleigh law firm that other attorneys have called "firing specialists." Although never admitting that the administration had been too cruel to teachers, school superintendent Jerry Weast did say in the fall that it was time for a kinder and gentler phase of the school system's dealings with teachers.

Schwartz has seen these investigations first hand and according to him, "They are still going on. It never stopped." Schwartz has only been in Guilford County for six months. He is from New Jersey where he worked for the local Association of Educators. Before that he spent 27 years teaching. Schwartz has a doctorate and in education related fields from Rutgers University.

Schwartz does not mince words. In a quick and forceful delivery he criticized the school administration and their method of handling employee investigations. Schwartz accounts parallels much of what the teachers have said about long sessions locked in a room with attorneys.

When speaking of the incidents Schwartz's face became red. He seemed agitated and apologized for his passion. His sentences came in quick incomplete bursts and were adorned with rhetorical questions. He said it upset him to talk about the treatment of teachers.

"It’s horrible. They're still going on whenever they feel like it. Whenever they feel like it, they are coming in unannounced. I was at a session where they investigated people for five hours and they didn’t even get a glass of water. That's unacceptable. That's just not right. These are human beings. These are teachers. They are professionals They deserve to be treated as such," he said.

According to Schwartz an unsuspecting teacher will come to school and will be confronted with several attorneys and grilled for hours without any support.

This is his major complaint - that often in the investigations, he is not allowed to be present with the teacher. They face the attorneys and the administration for hours alone. He said it's no wonder teachers feel intimidated and scared. "It’s wild I never saw such a thing in my life. Unacceptable. I don’t understand what they are afraid of for having a rep there."

Schwartz also questioned the need to have attorneys involved so early in an investigation. "They're calling lawyers in. That’s not normal, to call a lawyer in to investigate something at a school? Not normal. Absolutely not normal. Lawyers for what? What’s with that?"

According to Schwartz over the last four years the school system has spent $1.7 million on attorneys. He said the administration routinely turns a classroom into a "McCarthy-like-committee-hearing room in the middle of the day when little kids are walking by seeing teachers crying and their knees buckling."

"You’re not going to have good schools and good teaching if everybody walks around worried that the investigations are going to start about something they know nothing about. They [teachers] are not able to function when they think or feel that at any given moment some two-bit lawyer from Raleigh is going to show up and kick them around. Little kids are walking by seeing teachers crying and their knees buckling, right in the middle of the day.

"I doubt there is a whole lot [of] education going on when they pull that kind of maneuver in the school. They come in with their briefcases and stuff they take over a room nobody can use for the day and they due it for several days. This is crazy," Schwartz said.

When asked how the administrations treatment of teachers compares to the way they are treated in New Jersey, Schwartz said that if they tried this method, where he's from, the schools would be buried in lawsuits. Which to Schwartz is one of the most baffling issues. He said that in every other regard people in Greensboro are nicer than they are in the north. "Here when people say good morning, they mean it," he said.

The school board has shown little interest in looking in to these teacher horror stories. Only one board member Anita Sharpe has questioned the need for the Raleigh law firm. Sharpe does not vote to approve personnel reports that contain resignations or firings that involve the Raleigh firm. But other board members month after month accept the resignations without comment or question.

Schwartz vows to continue the fight. He said the NCAE is talking to state legislators about the issue of unfair treatment. He has also been talking to the NCAE in Raleigh and next week at the April 8 school board meeting the state President of the NCAE is planning to come to address the board. She is expected to discuss the treatment of teachers in Guilford County School System It will be interesting to see what response she will get from the school board. At one point Schwartz said "Any American would be horrified that [in Guilford county] a teacher doesn’t have the same rights as a criminal."

If the school board doesn't take action he might have to amend that statement to say any American except for those on the Guilford County Board of Education would be horrified.