FOR RELEASE UPON REQUEST
ORIGINALLY FURNISHED WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2020
DeLane Adams, on behalf of MCEA:
MCEA Statement Regarding Recent Media Reports Pertaining to Bill 46-20
ROCKVILLE, MD – The Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) was recently described in media reports as having taken a specific position on Bill 46-20 as currently proposed for consideration by the Montgomery County Council. To date, the organization, a democratic labor union representing more than 14,000 education staff across the Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools system, has not adopted a formal position on that specific bill. By means of clarification, the organization issued a long-form statement this evening in an effort to better inform those reports and to affirm key values within its education justice and racial justice frameworks. The statement, attributable to MCEA, reads:
“MCEA educators believe that racial justice and education justice are intertwined and we believe in the urgent need for greater investments and resource allocation toward restorative justice practices and wrap-around services to support our students, including greater investments in mental health counseling.
We support Black Lives Matter @ School, ethnic studies programs, ending the school-to-prison pipeline, solidarity with students and colleagues who are DACA recipients, confronting hate and bias at school, educational equity for women and girls, and other key education justice principles that reflect our values and our dedication to ensuring the safety and sanctity of the lives and the learning experience of every student.
With that education justice framework in mind, and as a democratic organization, our membership frequently discusses what the best ways are to allocate resources within our schools in a manner that reflects our education justice values, and we know that we are stronger as an organization and as advocates for our students thanks to having many viewpoints within those democratic discussions.
As we continue to advocate for true progressive revenue reforms and a day when large corporations and the super wealthy will pay their fair share in our state and in our county, we know that in the meantime, there is an acute scarcity of mental health counselors, psychologists, and other key support staff to serve our highest needs and most at-risk students.
There are many MCEA educators who feel that funding for mental health services must be increased dramatically and immediately, particularly in light of the impact that the pandemic is having on student wellness. Many educators have raised the question of whether some of that funding for vital student mental health resources and services should potentially be gleaned from existing SRO allocations — while others feel the opposite.
MCEA members, as part of their democratic union, have brought forth a range of viewpoints and visions for how the resources currently dedicated to the SRO program could best be applied for the benefit of our students and communities, with some educators advocating for the status quo, saying those resources should continue to be allocated as they are, and others expressing that those resources would better serve students if they were invested in mental health services, restorative justice practices, and other critical areas of student need.
While this discussion moves forward in a respectful manner within our democratic organization, some reports and social media posts have misrepresented the process and conversation. While some educators have individually spoken out passionately for or against Bill 46-20, MCEA as a democratic union has not taken a formal position for or against the specific Bill 46-20 as brought forward by councilmembers Jawando and Riemer, although the important questions it raises about resource allocation are reflective of conversations playing out within our organization among the MCEA educators, and within our communities at-large.
Across our nation and across our national union, the National Education Association, there is certainly an important conversation happening about how to re-balance and mitigate the level of investments and personnel dedicated to the policing of students through tactics such as surveillance, metal detectors, and other means, while recognizing the need to increase funding for counselors, social workers and other school personnel to support the social and emotional well-being of students.”
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