Bristol Federation of Teachers

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Student Discipline Bill – HB 7110 Final Push — May 16, 2019

Student Discipline Bill – HB 7110 Final Push

HB 7110 passed out of the Education Committee back in March and the very important Appropriations Committee just last week. A final vote, this time before the entire legislature, can happen any day now. It’s important to help push this vital bill over the finish line.

From AFT CT and CEA…

There are less than three weeks left in the legislative session, and a vote on the Classroom Safety Bill, HB 7110, could happen at any time.

Now is the time to act on this critical issue. Lawmakers must hear from you about why this bill is vital for students and teachers.

Contact your legislators today and tell them to keep our classrooms safe.

They need to hear from you before they vote on this important issue.

Oregon Teachers Walk Out — May 8, 2019

Oregon Teachers Walk Out

In a move that will make many Connecticut teachers jealous, teachers in Oregon held a prearranged walkout today, protesting the conditions that have led to a discipline crisis, less supplies, and low levels of staffing. Here are the articles covering the event:

CNN, with video

Associated Press

Portland Tribune, local newspaper

Oregon Live, local blog coverage

KATU, with video



Student Discipline Crisis Goes Public In Hartford — April 29, 2019

Student Discipline Crisis Goes Public In Hartford

A contentious BOE meeting occurred recently in Hartford between teachers voicing frustrations and concerns with safety, and district leadership and some parents who viewed race as being the predominate issue. Click here for the Hartford Courant article.

A full video of the special BOE meeting, with public commentary from union leaders and teachers, and be found here.

An NPR article and audio (from radio broadcast) can be found here.

Nationwide Classroom Crisis — April 16, 2019

Nationwide Classroom Crisis

Violent Behavior In Elementary Schools Becoming More Prevalent” – An excellent article from Utah, with an even better video segment that is perfect for sharing with non-teacher friends and family to help them understand what is going on.

Classrooms in Crisis” – Another excellent video from Oregon, where teachers are planning a statewide walkout on May 8.

Editorial about the same issue from Virginia.

Guide from NEA on dealing with violent behavior in the classroom.

Washington Post article on a teacher strike in Poland. We clearly aren’t the only nation with problems within the profession.



HB 7110 Revised, Advances in Legislature — March 28, 2019

HB 7110 Revised, Advances in Legislature

HB 7110, the bill addressing Classroom Safety, has been moved out of the Education Committee with a unanimous vote, but with revision. After intense opposition from the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents and certain other groups, gone is the portion that would have required superintendents to report dangerous and disruptive incidents to Boards of Education on a monthly basis. While this is an unfortunate loss, the bill, if passed, will still established a legislative foothold to build upon and strengthen in future years.

You can read the updated version of the bill here.

A Fix for Student Discipline? — March 25, 2019

A Fix for Student Discipline?

Student Discipline, and the lack thereof, has been the primary concern for teachers in Bristol the entire school year. To that end the BFT would like to offer a possible response.

BOE Student Discipline Policy is 5114 (along with Appendix A and B) and can be accessed via the CABE web site.

Policy on School Climate, very lengthy and revised in July 2018.

Language regarding student discipline in the BFT contract can be found here, in Article 28.

Teachers at each school building are advised to review these policies with colleagues. If sufficient staff feel that the policies are not being adhered to by administration at a particular building, a grievance can be filed. BFT officers are available to assist in this effort.

Further reading:

Suspension Reform is Tormenting Schools“, City Journal, December 2017

What Do Teachers Really Think about School Discipline Reform,” Education Writers Association, December 2018

Is School Discipline Reform Moving Too Fast?” The Atlantic, January 2018

Educators Worry Schools Are Botching Student Discipline Reform,” January 2017

Teachers Pre-Retirement Seminar in 3 weeks — March 17, 2019

Teachers Pre-Retirement Seminar in 3 weeks

PreK-12 Teachers’ Pre-Retirement Seminar

 Saturday 04/06/2019 – 8:00am – 12:00pm
Dues-paying members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated PreK-12 unions thinking of retiring this year are invited to the one and only retirement seminar they will need. The presenter is retirement specialist Mark Egidio, who will help attendees make the right choices and fully understand their Teachers Retirement Board (TRB) plan benefits.
Registration opens at 8:00AM. Continental breakfast is provided.
Click here to register to attend.
Note – due to limited seating, there will be a $10.00 (per attendee) REFUNDABLE deposit to hold seats. After registering online or by phone, make checks payable to “AFT Connecticut” and send to:
  • AFT Connecticut, 35 Marshall Rd, Rocky Hill, CT 06067.
Despoit checks will be returned at the registration desk the day of event, so ensure name is clearly written on it. Checks will also be returned to those that cancel prior to 24 hours before event.
Auditorium, H.C. Wilcox Technical High School

298 Oregon Road


Tomorrow – Meet Local Legislators — March 15, 2019

Tomorrow – Meet Local Legislators

Tomorrow is your chance to meet up with local legislators and engage them in discussion on education matters and pending legislation such as Classroom Safety or Consolidation.

Having a good turnout will not only enlighten legislators about what it is like in the trenches, but make them more favorable inclined to vote on issues of importance.

Questions? Contact Teri Merisotis at 860 257 9782 or

Saturday, March 16

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM

Testa’s Banquet Facility

26 S Center Street, Southington

HB 7110 Update — March 7, 2019

HB 7110 Update

A few brief items in relation to this bill:

  1. Bristol Rep. Cara Pavalock-D’Amato has co-sponsored the bill.
  2. The Education Committee is trying to bring various groups to consensus on the bill’s language.
  3. An article appeared in the Hartford Courant about the bill today, with minor mention of Bristol teachers.
  4. Some studies used by opponents of the bill are a 22 year old study that shows a racial disparity in discipline rates but does not identify cause, and one concerning the community context.  There is also a 20 year old study that finds having disabled students (not highly disruptive or dangerous) included in a regular education class does not impact the education of the other students.
AFT Campaign “Fund the Future” — March 4, 2019

AFT Campaign “Fund the Future”

The walkouts and funding fights in states such as West Virginia, Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma, and cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, have been inspirational. What connects all these fights is the failure of politicians to fund our students’ future, which is why educators, parents, students and their communities are standing up with a clear message: We’re not going to accept underfunding and scarcity.

The AFT’s Fund Our Future campaign begins March 4, with events continuing throughout the month. Educators and our allies across the nation will be taking action to demand adequate and sustainable investment in our public schools, colleges and universities, so students—particularly our most vulnerable and at-risk children—have the resources they need to succeed.

You can join us right now by letting Congress know that it’s time to fund our future.

The Great Recession decimated school funding, and 25 states still spend less on K-12 public education than before the recession. Similarly, in higher education, 41 states still spend less. Years of disinvestment have hurt our students and faculty and led to overcrowded classrooms; schools without nurses, librarians, guidance counselors and supports to ensure children’s well-being; deteriorating school buildings with outdated teaching materials and technology; and unhealthy, unsafe environments. The testing fixation, coupled with austerity, has meant the loss of instruction in the arts, music and other programs; and disinvestment has led to huge increases in tuition and student debt as well as fewer course offerings and full-time tenured faculty.

And for the states that have made strides—we need to support that trend. In those states, we’ll focus on sustaining that commitment to fund our future.

Our campaign is not one size fits all— it’s tailored to different funding needs and issues. But the goal of Fund Our Future is the same everywhere: ensuring that the public schools and colleges that embrace all of our children have the funding they need to provide the opportunities students deserve.

This means that in addition to the state and local campaigns, on the national level we’re calling on Congress to:

  • Fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
  • Fully fund Title I;
  • Increase investment in school infrastructure;
  • Secure real operating funds at the national and state levels to counteract the disinvestment in our public colleges and universities; and
  • Forgive outstanding student loan debt in keeping with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Teachers want what students need. Indeed, we are grateful that many bills have already been introduced to meet these needs. We’re fighting to prioritize these needs because every student deserves a fully funded public education.

The first step is telling Congress: Enough is enough. Write your members of Congress today, and tell them to fund our future now.

In unity,
Randi Weingarten
AFT President