When you think about bullying in public schools, it’s generally in the context of a bigger kid picking on a smaller kid. According to Susan Kimball, a kindergarten teacher of 20 years in the Sikeston Public School District, it’s administrators and fellow teachers bullying and intimidating her, all because she opposes Common Core.
At yesterday’s Senate Education Committee hearing, Kimball testified she has suffered from bullying and intimidation since she began speaking out about the controversial standards.
“I have been strongly discouraged from saying anything negative about Common Core by my administration and some school board members,” Kimball said, her voice shaking.
Kimball described different instances where she, and others, were warned about speaking out.
“In a professional development meeting, um, inservice in November, and at a faculty meeting in January, we were told in my building, and I quote, ‘Be careful about what you post on Facebook, or talk about in the public regarding Common Core. Don’t say anything negative. It could affect your job.'”
Despite others being intimidated into silence, Kimball continued to speak out.
“When I turned in a personal day request to come support the rally for House Bill 1490, I was asked by my principal, ‘Do you really want that in your personnel file?’ And then I was bullied and ostracized by my administration, a few other teachers and the president of the school board. And that continues today,” Kimball said.
Kimball testified she had messages from other teachers in other states telling similar stories.
Sen. John Lamping, sitting beside Kimball, appeared shocked by her statements.
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who was sitting in on the hearing, reacted to Kimball’s story.
“Surely it’s incumbent of all of us who hold, who are custodians of these offices who belong to the people, to protect you and teachers like you from the sinister intimidation you described.”
Kimball thanked Kinder, saying she didn’t know what she was going to face when she returned home.
“It’s the reason I’ve been so nervous. It’s so hard for me to speak. Because you have no idea what I have been through over the past six weeks because of my stand,” Kimball said. “And the reason I took this stand is because it was right for my kids. They’re my main priority.”
Kinder asked Kimball to stay in touch with his office.
You can see all of her testimony below:
I should note that Kimball was testifying in support of SB 514, which “prohibits the State Board of Education, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and school districts from implementing the Common Core State Standards” and SB 798, which “modifies provisions relating to elementary and secondary education standards and assessments.”
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