5/22/2013 2:00:00 PM MVHS Teachers Plan Graduation Protest
By Shlomit Auciello
Medomak Valley High School teachers will not participate in commencement ceremonies when the Class of 2013 graduates on Wednesday, June 5.
"On Thursday, March 16, the Medomak Valley High School teachers elected not to participate in the upcoming graduation ceremonies on June 5," mathematics teacher and Medomak Valley Education Association President Paul Forest told The Lincoln County News in a May 18 email message.
"This means we will not march in at the beginning of the ceremony nor march out at the end as we have traditionally done in the past," he wrote.
Forest said teacher participation in the annual ceremony has always been strictly voluntary.
"We are not violating any contractual obligations with this action," he said teachers in the district have been working without a contract since last fall and negotiations have stalled.
"Many teachers will attend graduation, but they will sit in the back of the gymnasium," Forest wrote. "The decision to refrain from marching has occurred once in the past, approximately 10 years ago."
Regional School Unit/Maine School Administrative District 40 Superintendent Susan Pratt said she did not have sufficient information to make an official comment.
"The issue of marching at graduation has always been voluntary for teachers," Pratt wrote in a May 21 email message. "Most of what I know about your comment is what I have read in the paper." She said the district's board of directors has not discussed this issue to make an official comment.
Forest said May 22 that the staff is still discussing the decision.
"The decision about graduation is currently under debate at the high school," he wrote in an early morning email message. "One parent has sent a formal request asking us to march, and there has been a lot of chatter on Facebook. I can't say at this time if there will be anything new in the future."
"I don't expect any developments in the contract until after fact-finding on June 4," Forest wrote.