In a nation that experiences active shooters on a daily basis, most go unreported in the national media, it has been a priority of schools to increase its safety measures for the safety of staff and students. Increasing site security has become a priority for many schools. Last month, Hemet Unified School District (HUSD), announced that it was taking new security initiatives. Included in the district’s initiatives is the requirement of every employee in the district to take the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) e-learning training. In addition, teachers are required to complete additional Keenan safety training videos.
The Town Crier obtained the following communication sent out on Sept. 5 by Hemet Teachers Association (HTA) President Jason Chrest, which was emailed out to the association’s members: “You have been subjected to emails originating at the district office that threaten being placed on ‘unpaid status’ if the Keenan video trainings are not completed by some arbitrary date.
“Here are the facts:
“1. Placing you on unpaid status relating to non-completion of this task is illegal. It would constitute a violation of your right to receive pay for the work you do every day. The district leadership is aware of this. They were invited to send out a retraction of their email and work with the association to seek completion of these tasks in the spirit of collaboration.
“2. They declined. In fact, they doubled down, stating in their most recent email that this work is to be completed on our own time.
“3. There is no past practice of requiring our members to use their own time to complete these training videos. We cannot be compelled to do so. This task must be completed on the district’s time. It is not a recognized use of prep time.
“4. Ed Code states no deadline for the completion of these training videos.
“5. Ed Code mandates only a small subset of the videos we are being asked to complete. Most districts complete nowhere near the amount of training videos asked of us.
“6. Total required time to complete all videos is now approximately equivalent to one duty day.
“7. Collaboration time allows for professional development. Site administrators may, within their
collaboration time, set aside opportunities for the completion of these videos. Please ask them to do so.
“Since the district leadership actively chose to take no action, I felt it was my responsibility to bring these facts to light so that all of our members know their rights. The entire manner in which this was handled by district administration is both unfortunate and disturbing. Hopefully, it is a trend that does not continue.
“If you have any questions about what I’ve presented here, please don’t hesitate to email the HTA office or me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
When the communication was sent to HUSD, it responded the same day with the following: “It is expected that employees be trained every year on several topics to ensure the safety of our students and staff. The method the district utilizes to deliver this training is Keenan’s online platform.
“Several trainings that the district assigns its employees are required per Ed Code (e.g. Ed Code 44691 and SB 778). In addition, there are some trainings that the district expects employees to complete because they have been deemed as best practices related to having a safe work environment.
“In the unlikely event that an employee does not complete the required training by the predetermined dates, the employee and administrator will work collaboratively to determine a solution that ensures the training will be completed in a timely manner.
“While we understand that the original communication to employees regarding this issue may have caused concern, there is no intent by the district to circumvent the employees’ rights to due process or any disciplinary procedures outlined in their respective collective bargaining agreement.”
The Town Crier reached out to HTA for comment. HTA did not respond by press time.main