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Broward schools win ruling vs. teachers as controversy brews over social media ‘spying’

Some Broward teachers are upset that the school district used photos of them from social media to show that they were out and about amid concerns about returning to the classroom.
Some Broward teachers are upset that the school district used photos of them from social media to show that they were out and about amid concerns about returning to the classroom.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – An arbitration order released Monday night sided with Broward County Public Schools, saying the district may require teachers to return to the classroom to meet school operational needs.

The order follows a lawsuit filed by the teachers’ union on behalf of 1,700 teachers with underlying health conditions who had been granted accommodations to work from home but were later told they had to return to the classroom.

“This is a win for our students,” Superintendent Robert Runcie said.

Of the 1,700 teachers with accommodations, the district says more than 600 have been granted extensions.

The teachers’ union doesn’t see the arbitration order as a complete loss, saying the order also forces principals to justify their decisions on requiring some teachers to work in the building.

We’re also learning that, during the three-day arbitration, the school district used social media postings from teachers who had accommodations to show they were out and about during the pandemic.

“I didn’t know that they would have the audacity and the deplorable decision to put people out there on full blast,” said Anna Fusco, president of the Broward Teachers Union.

A recording from someone participating in the conference shows a social media posting from James Keith Calloway being pointed out, adding he is unmasked.

Calloway spoke to Local 10 News last week. He’s among 340 educators in Broward who decided to retire, saying he chose his health over work.

Tuesday, he told us that picture that was raised showing him unmasked was from 2019.

Local 10 News asked the district about using the social media photos and why they may have used a photo of Calloway from 2019, but we’re still waiting for a response.


About the Author:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba.