Baltimore County public school representatives delivered a letter to district leaders, stating the lack of transparency and communication following the recent ransomware attack is “wreaking havoc upon havoc.”
(TNS) — Unions representing
In the letter delivered Sunday to Superintendent
“Every time we have been told to do something, to adjust on the fly with little notice, we have stepped up and done it,” the unions state in the letter. “We simply cannot do it anymore. We are frustrated. We are stressed. We are tired. And we are angry. Educators and administrators feel marginalized and disrespected by the system.”
According to the unions’ leaders, Williams called each of them personally on Sunday after receiving the letter. The superintendent promised to improve communications and agreed to join a regularly scheduled meeting Monday evening with all five unions representing county schools employees, the union representatives said.
In a letter responding to the unions Monday, Williams acknowledged that the attack added “yet another layer of frustration” for school employees who were already facing hurdles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are working with local and national experts to assist us with the review, repair, and recovery phases,” Williams said. “Since there is no other
The unions are the latest group to publicly air frustrations with the level of communication coming from
Earlier in December,
In the unions’ letter,
“Everyone understands an ongoing investigation can mean not all information can be shared,” the unions state in the letter. “But because of the unclear or missing communication, not only are the rumors flying, people are becoming more and more wary. There are hundreds of questions and not many clear answers.”
The unions said no one knew for days if personal information was compromised in the attack, which occurred the day before
“People don’t trust the school system right now,” Sexton said Monday. “We don’t know what is okay and what is not, especially after the letter the county executive sent out. That further led to a lack of trust.”
CASE executive director
DeHart wants the public to know educators are not “whiners,” but rather professionals trying to do what’s best for children.
Recently, union members have described problems with swapping out school-issued devices on short notice. Some of the devices handed out were not functional and could not be used to teach. Educators have reported using personal devices in order to continue instruction for students, Sexton said.
“The tools for us to effectively do our jobs are not being provided yet we are still being held accountable in the same manner they were prior to the ransomware attack,” the letter states.
The unions called for the school system to bring in an expert on ransomware attacks to “share what is and is not possible and why it will take some time to ‘fix’ things.”
“Staff doesn’t have to like what they hear but at least they will be hearing what is known and why,” the letter states.
Williams said he is committed to addressing communications concerns and pledged to meet with union leaders weekly. Staff members from several offices including technology, facilities, business support services, human resources, fiscal services, communications and legal are working with experts and vendors to keep schools functioning, Williams said in his reply to unions.
“I know that our school community is depending on us and coming to us with questions,” he said. “We do not yet have all the answers, but we will get there together.”
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