State your "urge to kill", keep your union job

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For the "children"...

For the “children”…

Teacher fired over ‘kill’ remark nets $427G pay

Boston Herald: The Hub’s top earner in 2012 is a grade school teacher who once said she had the “urge to kill” her boss, comments school officials used to fire her and later, paid for — to the tune of nearly $400,000 in back pay after a judge ruled they had no grounds to boot her.
Teresa D. Underwood topped the city’s payroll last year with $427,522.71, an eye-popping number that dwarfed the next highest earner — Superintendent Carol R. Johnson — by more than $100,000. Former Boston Latin teacher Jonathan Bonds filled out the top three with $318,158 in pay, a figure school officials said was inflated by his own discrimination lawsuit settlement tacked on to his $90,000 base pay.
“They’re obviously unique situations that have to do with court proceedings,” schools spokesman Matthew Wilder said of the whopping payouts. “Sometimes those court proceedings can take a long time, which both of these cases did.”
According to an appeals court decision, Underwood had been fired for claims of “insubordination, conduct unbecoming a teacher and incapacity,” stemming from comments she made to a Faulkner Hospital psychiatrist in September 2007 that she “had the urge to kill” her school’s principal.
It sprang from a verbal altercation the two had on the first day of school at the Curley School in Jamaica Plain during which Underwood became “enraged” over the furniture meted out to her classroom. Feeling “upset,” she checked herself into the hospital’s outpatient clinic, where she spoke to the psychiatrist, according to the decision.
The psychiatrist then reported the comments to police, prompting school officials to put her on paid leave, bar her from the school and later fire her.
Underwood appealed, and an arbitrator, in ruling she shouldn’t have been canned, granted her the award based on back pay. An appeals court in September upheld the findings, writing in a decision that her “statement was plainly intended to threaten no one, and was made during an effort to seek treatment.” “We have no reason to question the arbitrator’s conclusion that Underwood’s behavior did not constitute conduct requiring dismissal,” they wrote.
Underwood yesterday declined comment. Richard Stutman, president of the Boston Teachers Union said, “That is her money, it was taken from her, and she only got back what she lost. It only came to this because the city denied her employment for 4A years. It wasn’t the teacher’s wish not to work. She wanted to work.”
Wilder said Underwood has taken a “different role” since officials moved to fire her in 2007, and, like Bonds, is still employed in the Boston school system.
Too bad this teacher didn’t practice what she was obliged to enforce. According to their school handbook, students are expected to:

  • “Show respect to all community members and school visitors through language, actions, and behaviors. Profanity and offensive language will not be tolerated in the schoolyard or inside or around the building”.
  • “Behave responsibly, safely and in a manner that does not compromise safety, instill fear, harass, or threaten community members.”

Stating you have an “urge to kill” sure does go against stated school policies. Yet when you’ve got the school union backing you, different rules apply to those responsible for following/enforcing school policies.

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0 responses to “State your "urge to kill", keep your union job

  1. DCG are you part of the school administration or are you stupid? Ms. Underwood did not use, “offensive language …in the schoolyard or inside or around the building”. As stated in the decision she made the statement to a psychologist in seeking help in dealing with what, to her, was a stressful situation. And she did not, “Behave responsibly, safely and in a manner that does not compromise safety, instill fear, harass, or threaten community members” because she sought professional help to remedy the feelings she felt? It seems to me that she did just that. Why did the charlatan psychologist report her to the cops? He/she was just protecting his/her own ass, in case Ms. Underwood carried out her “urge to kill” threat. How would she have killed the principal? Massachusetts has draconian gun laws? Ah, she would have beaten the jerk with her Louis Vitton purse, I see.
    What I think is that you are one of the blockheads that just doesn’t see any use for unions. Unions, in my opinion, are brought on by the employers themselves, by not offering decent benefit/salary packages, by playing favorites in promotions and by firing employees without cause or on falsely built up cases. In other words, employers that have to deal with unions have, more than likely brought the union on by their bullying tactics or by their not listening to their employee’s concerns. Finally, I am not a fan of unions. I can’t see paying a part of my salary to some overpaid attorneys to negotiate fair labor practices, benefit packages and salaries. Can’t employers deal faily with their employees? Yes, but many won’t. Don’t employers see that without these pesky employees they wouldn’t be producing/servicing/delivering whatever it is they are producing /servicing/delivering? Most companies that are burdened with unions have caused that burdern to themselves.
    Now I will get down off my soap box and go have breakfast.

    • Bob,
      Did you get out of the wrong side of your bed this morning? There is no need to state your disagreement with DCG’s post by descending to insults, calling her “stupid” and “blockhead.”
      DCG and all the writers of FOTM devote our time and talents, at no pay, as a labor of love for our country. For that, we get death threats. Nothing says we must also tolerate verbal abuse. Read our “About” page for FOTM’s policy on rude insulting commenters.
      If you do not apologize to DCG, you will no longer have comment privileges on FOTM.
      ~Dr. Eowyn
      Owner, FOTM

    • Remember, Bob, low blood sugar can make a man grouchy– eating a protein bar before posting can help! (Personal attacks, however, represent an indivdual preference in grouchiness’ form a protein bar can’t fix– that’s just called being a jackass. You’ll have to fix that one on your own.)

    • This is a public union that serves no purpose other than to protect government employees. If the government agencies are so good, why the need for public unions?

  2. “And she did not,” should have been, “And did she not…” That’s what happens when you rile me before breakfast, DCG.

    • Aw, lighten up, Bob– you always argue this left/liberally (ad hominem attacks) about everything?

    • In which case, you should change your moniker to “BobtheSourGrape,” the next time you call our DCG – stupid. Your rancorous comment indicates lack of reading comprehension. It is crystal clear from the very intelligent DCG’s post, that the issue is the all around corruption endemic to the government school system, and that the corruption is on every side – not just the entrenched teacher’s unions.
      Additionally, you are no gentleman, calling a gracious, discerning, lady, like DCG – a blockhead. Guess what – you have riled me, and after dinner.
      Proverbs 29:11
      King James Version (KJV)
      11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

  3. I was just thinking… what an over-reaction by the psychiatrist. I mean she didn’t even have a jar of peanut butter. Then we would know she really meant business. “If you see something say something”
    “Why did the charlatan psychologist report her to the cops?”
    Because it’s the law. Why did a teacher freak out over classroom furniture to the extent she checked herself into the Hospital clinic?
    How much student education happened for that $400k? That is the primary purpose for “free” public schools – educating children.


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