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Teachers plan lawsuit against Blackfoot School District

By Chris Cole
Published On: Jul 25 2013 11:46:16 PM CDT

Teachers see lack of action in school board

BLACKFOOT, Idaho -

Three Stalker Elementary School teachers in Blackfoot have had enough after Thursday's School District 55 board meeting.

They say the school district won't help them with concerns regarding their principal, Hal Silzly, so they are taking action.

Shawna Matsuura, Amanda Jones and Virgina Townsend say they've gone through all the official channels, but after the meeting Thursday, when the school board closed the meeting without any opportunity for the public to speak, the teachers said they plan to sue the school district.

They want Silzly moved to another school. They say this all began months ago when, after various situations arose.

"There are some things they are upset about: denial of personal leave, one teacher was accused this year of sexual harrassment," said Silzly in an interview on July 11. "I had to look into that, and she didn't care for the way I looked into that, because she got in trouble."

When they took their initial complaints to the school board, they say the school board did nothing. So they asked to speak in private at their executive session in June, and that was denied. They asked again for the executive session before Thursday's meeting, and the school board issued an email and a letter the day before that they would not be allowed to speak.

The third time was the charm for Townsend, who told reporter Chris Cole after the meeting that, because their concerns aren't being addressed, they will take it further.  Jones said they never wanted it to go this far, they simply want to see Silzly gone.

"It just does not make sense,” Jones said. “It's a simple issue, we're just trying to get someone to listen to us and just being denied over and over again."

Reporter Chris Cole spoke with Silzly's attorney, Bryce Lloyd, on the phone before the meeting, and Lloyd said Silzly has an outstanding reputation.

Both Silzly and the school board will not comment on the matter because it is a personnel matter. Lloyd only said they are following proper protocol. The trio of teachers say they disagree, because they are allowed an audience in executive sessions for this very type of situation, according to policy No. 269 of the school board code.

Jones also said she is not letting this issue go because an unhealthy work environment affects the kids at the school.

For the background on this story, follow this link: http://bit.ly/18GgmoF.

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