- Posted August 26, 2014 by
District of Columbia
Holyoke Superintendent Dr. Sergio Paez Hands Out Trespassing Notice to President of the Holyoke Teachers Association
Agustin Morales III, President of the Holyoke Teachers Association, was issued a trespassing notice by the school department, which was ordered and signed by Superintendent Dr. Sergio Paez. They, the administration, have been trying to silence Morales since he started criticizing them about certain practices taking place in the Holyoke Public Schools. He mostly spoke to the detrimental effects of data walls and the morale-busting climate of high-stakes testing.
Speaking out did not seem enough for Morales and he looked to pursuits that would allow him to affect change on a much broader scale. In April he decided he would run for president of his local union and won by an overwhelming majority vote. Morales was welcoming new teachers this past Thursday and Friday at one of the Holyoke schools and introducing himself to them during their New Teacher Orientation. He was letting them know that he is the President of their union and if they ever need anything that he is available anytime. It didn’t make sense that in that time frame, Dr. Paez would be filing a Trespass Notice.
They thought non-renewal of his teaching contract and the subsequent trespass notice would quite him; but it didn't work. It seems to only have further strengthened Morales’s resolve to continue fighting for the city he grew up in. These kinds of actions luckily just bring more attention to the fact that change is needed and corporate school reform is not the answer. Paez is a strong supporter of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which is a supporter of making all schools part of their corporate reform.
Morales works in one of the most impoverished districts in Massachusetts where some schools have a free/reduced lunch rate above 90%. He works with a predominantly Hispanic population (almost 80%) of which most are Puerto Rican. Morales is also Puerto Rican. He is a native of Holyoke. He graduated from Holyoke Public Schools. From all accounts Morales is respected and supported by students, parents, community members, and teaching colleagues from his city and around the country. This all serves to further compound the confusion as to why he was dismissed in the first place and begs the question: When will he be returned to the classroom?