The Michigan Education Association (MEA) is trying its hardest to force the West Branch-Rose City school district to pay severance to a teacher who was convicted of molesting one of his students. The union wants the school district to pay out a $10K severance package to Neal Erickson, a former math teacher at Rose City Middle School, because he apparently accepted a district wide severance offer before he was officially terminated.
The district sometimes offers a severance package to teachers as incentive to helping them make personnel cuts when the district is having financial difficulty. The last time the district offered the severance deal was around the same time that Mr. Erickson was being investigated for his atrocious crimes. He apparently accepted the deal before the conclusion of the investigation; however, the district refused to pay him the severance offer, so the MEA is trying to get him the money.
District Superintendent Dan Cwayna made the final call not to pay Erickson the severance package.
The school district declined to pay him the money, prompting the union’s action.
“You had to qualify for the buyout, depending on your years in the district,” Cwayna said. “We’ve done it in the past. It was a little different this last year in that we offered the buyout in two $5,000 payments.
“When the first payment was sent out … and the union discovered we did not make the payment to Mr. Erickson, they filed a grievance on his behalf.”
Cwayna said he was the one who decided not to authorize the special severance for the child molester, but declined to elaborate on why, though the reason seems pretty obvious.
“That was something I as superintendent, with some consultation with the president of the board,” decided, Cwayna said. “That was a decision the superintendent makes and at this point … I prefer not to get into the reasons.”
Needless to say, the family of the young boy who was so savagely molested by the monster teacher Neal Erickson, is extremely upset with the union’s decision to support Erickson.
John Janczewski, father of Erickson’s victim, said his family can hardly believe the MEA is pursuing the special severance for a convicted child molester.
“It’s completely ludicrous!” Janczewski told EAGnews. “Are they nuts in the head? How can the union file a grievance and back a child molester? We’re very upset about it.”
Janczewski wasn’t surprised Parkinson didn’t want to discuss the severance grievance.
“What are you going to say when you’re backing a child molester? I mean, this starts it all over again. It just sickens us,” he said. “If anything, that money should go to my son, who is out there trying to make it in this world all messed up.”
“We as a family in no way is going to let this happen. I mean, a child molester paid to molest a student?” Janczewski said. “He doesn’t deserve it.”
“I don’t think the union wants the publicity we’ll bring on this,” he added.
Unions often act in an irrational manner, deciding that the bottom line is always the most important thing. This case is no different. They see an opportunity for one of their members to get some money, and that’s all it is to them. A member getting paid.
Hopefully, this union realizes soon that it is acting in a gross and irresponsible manner and will choose to drop the case on its own. Mr. Erickson receiving severance is simply adding salt to an open and festering wound. The father of the young boy who was so horribly molested is right – Erickson winning severance would be like the union arguing that he should be paid to molest children. Even a union should be able to see that as reprehensible.
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