The Broward School District reportedly caught some of its remote-working teachers carrying on their personal, private lives amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Tuesday report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Following the revelation, teachers complained that the district was unfairly spying on them.
But the district in response said that if those individuals on remote assignment can attend events such as destination weddings, political rallies, and more, they can “safely return to in-person teaching.”
What are the details?
The report revealed that the district scoured Facebook pages of those teachers working remotely in order to catch them “partying, traveling, and failing to wear masks at a time the educators say COVID-19 makes it too risky for them to return to campus.”
“One teacher is pictured at her daughter’s destination wedding in Jamaica,” the report revealed. “Another attended a political rally for Joe Biden. Others were pictured with cocktails in restaurants or enjoying a Disney or beach vacation with family or friends.”
The resulting information from the district’s research was used in an arbitration hearing held last week with the Broward Teachers Union, which has challenged the district’s decision to cease remote work assignments for a majority of teachers.
Stephanie Marchman, a lawyer representing Broward Schools, said, “If individuals on remote assignment can go to a Biden rally or to Animal Kingdom or to a luncheon, they can safely return to in-person teaching.”
The union, however, said the district is guilty of spying on its employees and has argued that the district’s findings are irrelevant because there were “no conditions for what teachers could do while working remotely.”
Mark Richard, an attorney for the union, argued that the teachers are only complying with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ wishes in keeping businesses open amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“You’re saying if you do something that puts you at risk, you should be at risk at all times,” Richard said during last week’s hearing. “This is a sad day for the Broward County school system. Once you’ve gone to a Biden rally and didn’t practice social distancing, you might as well come to school, increase exposure, and die.”
Richard also argued that the district is “going onto Facebook and spying and whatever on teachers.”
“They’re making some insane assertion about a picture of a 2-year-old in a park,” he added. “Doctors say it’s good to be outside as long as you keep social distancing. What’s the relevance of this?”