The union representing Cheltenham teachers filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board after the school district disciplined five teachers who coordinated a survey in which many faculty members said they were worried about violence and safety at Cheltenham High School.
Jon Manser, vice president of the Cheltenham Educators' Association and a history teacher, said he and four others were reprimanded because the survey, presented to district officials in late February, included the names of some students who were said to be discipline problems. After the survey became public, parents were angry that students were singled out.
"None of us were responsible for the survey becoming public," Manser said. "We have no idea how that happened."
He said the document was intended only for the district's 400 teachers and the administration, with the hope that the district would address long-standing complaints about school climate. Instead, Superintendent Wagner Marseille disciplined the union members.
In a statement, the district said the teachers were punished because they publicly disseminated the survey, which included accusations against specific students.
"We broke no laws or district policies, and we were still disciplined," Manser said.
After the fight, the district said it would take action to deal with discipline and other issues, posting more safety monitors at the high school, shortening lunch times, getting help for problem students, and clarifying discipline policies, among other actions.
The union also filed a grievance with the school district that, if not resolved, could go before an arbitrator.