Teachers Association Rejects State Union’s Controversial Position

December 21, 2023

The Bedford Education Association (BEA) on Thursday publicly separated from a controversial resolution approved by the board of its state union 12 days ago.

That motion by the Massachusetts Teachers Association Board of Directors called for “an immediate and permanent ceasefire” in Gaza, and urged the leaders of its national organization “to pressure President Biden to stop funding and sending weapons in support of the Netanyahu government’s genocidal war on the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

Several Jewish residents contacted officers of the Bedford association and requested that they repudiate the statement, which they felt was one-sided, inflammatory, and without context. The Newton Teachers Association disassociated itself from the resolution last week.

Jim Sunderland, BHS history teacher and BEA president, shared the local board’s statement on Thursday. The declaration does not address the content of the state union’s resolution, but says it is inappropriate and implies that it contravenes the goals of “critical thinking and responsible engagement.” The BEA statement calls on the state board to retract its motion.

State Rep. Kenneth Gordon commended the BEA’s action.

“I am glad that here in Bedford, our teachers speak through representatives who are steadfast in their primary concern of providing a welcoming environment for students to learn and teachers to teach,” he said in an email. “The MTA statement served only to divide our teachers, our students, and our community.”

Following is the entire BEA statement:

The Bedford Education Association…

  • Rejects the presumption that it is within the scope of our state and local associations’ mission to take a position on geopolitical affairs.

Furthermore, the BEA…

  • Rejects anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and all other expressions of religious and cultural intolerance.

Accordingly, the BEA…

  • Reaffirms the Bedford Public Schools’ commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and to educating our richly diverse student body.

Finally, the BEA…

  • Reaffirms our steadfast commitment to being advocates for quality public education in an environment in which lifelong learning, critical thinking, and responsible engagement in a complex, pluralistic, interconnected society flourish.

For these reasons, in dissociating itself from the motions approved on Dec. 9 by the MTA Board of Directors, the Bedford Education Association calls upon the board to retract its statement immediately.

Read the entire BEA Statement here.

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Eleanor Swanson
December 22, 2023 12:05 am

Excellent, brave decision to challenge the MTA on this resolution . Reasons given were sound. What do our students really need from teachers to help them process the terror of war? Is there a common theme in also considering Russian troops in Ukraine? What do we hope our students learn from this?

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