Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

National Teacher Day: Unions Keeping Criminals in NJ Schools

In observance of National Teacher Day, we’re posting a few things in honor of teachers unions and all that they do for our nation’s public schools. The first honor goes to the New Jersey Education Association and to the Newark Teachers Union for their work in keeping criminals employed in the Garden State’s schools. Under current New Jersey law, convicted criminals are barred from working in schools — if they were hired after September 1986. The Bergen County Record reports:

Some state legislators and education officials are vowing to make the school employees law apply to those thousands of employees with more than 30 years of service. But the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, opposes the move.

Even though it’s affiliated with the NJEA’s rival (the much smaller New Jersey State Federation of Teachers), the Newark Teachers Union is doing its part to keep convicted criminals in schools. The Record reports on one NTU member who is probably getting his dues’ worth:

Noel Wilson, a Newark elementary school teacher, convicted of unlawful possession of a defaced .38-caliber handgun in 2000, 15 years after he was hired. The district has not yet decided whether to seek his removal, said Newark’s attorney, Perry Lattiboudere. It would have to bring him up on tenure charges to fire him, Lattiboudere said. An average tenure hearing takes about eight months and can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Newark Teachers’ Union head Pietro M. Petino said the union would defend Wilson. “I don’t see how that impinges on his teaching,” Petino said of his conviction. “As far as I understand, he’s an excellent teacher.”

The state is looking into revoking Wilson’s teaching credentials, which can take a few weeks to more than a year, education officials said. In the meantime, Wilson is still in the classroom.

For what it’s worth, the Newark Teachers Union appears quite skilled at keeping tenured teachers in the classroom — only about .032 percent are fired in a given year.

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