ALBANY, N.Y. June 11, 2019 — New York State United Teachers will call on state lawmakers to put the cherry on top of the legislative session on Wednesday, bringing free ice cream to the state Capitol to highlight the union’s Support School Staff campaign and legislation aimed at addressing critical issues facing School-Related Professionals.
Specially decorated ice cream trucks will be parked on State Street outside the Capitol from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, and NYSUT officers will hand out free frozen treats topped with the message: “I Support School Staff.” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta will be on hand for interviews with the media throughout the afternoon.
“Here’s the scoop: School-Related Professionals are the backbone of New York’s public schools,” Pallotta said. “It’d be more than just sweet if lawmakers addressed the safety, health and labor issues SRPs face. It’d be the right thing to do — because a positive working environment is a positive learning environment for our children.”
The Support School Staff campaign focuses on a package of legislation to:
- allow districts to install school bus stop-arm cameras that would capture images of license plate numbers of reckless scofflaws who pass stopped school buses;
- require that a school bus attendant be posted on all school buses transporting students in grades K-6 to ensure that children get on and off of buses safely;
- mandate that school districts identify and mitigate potential workplace violence problems to ensure a safe working and learning environment for all staff and students; and
- ensure that all permanent school employees, including non-instructional School-Related Professionals, receive fair due-process hearings and are entitled to fair labor protections.
NYSUT has launched a new website - SupportSchoolStaff.org - to shed greater light on these proposals and provide an outlet for SRPs to share how these issues impact them and students. The union also is running digital advertisements drawing attention to these issues.
The Stop Arm Camera bill NYSUT is fighting for at the state Capitol would result in greater accountability for motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses. There are times drivers are “speeding so fast we can’t get their license plates,” says school bus driver Deb Paulin of Alden Central Schools.
Teaching assistant Mark Warner has had three concussions. A fractured nose. Multiple surgeries on his shoulder and elbows. All due to workplace violence. That's why our #SupportSchoolStaff campaign calls for school districts to be accountable to New York's workplace violence prevention laws.
NYSUT represents nearly 100,000 SRPs across New York. These dedicated school staff members have myriad responsibilities, including ensuring that children have safe and healthy schools. SRPs represented by NYSUT include teaching assistants, teacher aides, school nurses, secretaries, clerks, IT professionals, custodians, cleaners, bus drivers, bus monitors, mechanics, food service employees, security personnel, groundskeepers and many others.
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.