FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Pete Perez is a campus monitor at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, and he’s one of the many non-instructional Broward school district employees who was told it’s time to go back to work.
But Perez wants to know why.
“With no students and no faculty at school we have now become non-essential employees so there’s no reason for us to be there,” he said. “They’re playing Russian Roulette with our lives.”
On Tuesday, the district sent us a statement that said only essential staff who can’t work remotely have been called in. And they’re trying to enforce strict CDC guidelines.
Students and teachers returned from spring break this week and will continue instruction online for at least the next month because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Local 10 News has learned that campus monitors have been told to report to the schools where they work, stay in their cars, and observe and report anything they see.
Perez says he doesn’t own his own car. And, because he has diabetes and is more at risk, he feels unsafe going into work at all. He’s losing paid time off hours if he doesn’t go in.
“My family comes first, I’m not jeopardizing my family for this,” Perez said.
We spoke with attorney Adam Chotiner about the situation and, while he wouldn’t comment directly on the Broward schools’ policies, he said he’s been giving his clients the same advice.
“If you do have an employee who does have a concern, and that employee is not essential or if you can work around and move schedules, it’s in the employer’s best interest to try and work with employees,” Chotiner said.
That does appear to be happening. On Wednesday afternoon, the unions representing school district employees had a phone call with Superintendent Robert Runcie and gave him a list of questions.
The district agreed to have answers to those questions and potential solutions by Thursday.