The group that formally opposes the Tyler ISD bond says that new facilities will not address what they feel are the real concerns.
In fact, that group has several main complaints. The first complaint is what they consider low academic achievement district-wide. They also point to rampant discipline problems. Then, there are the teachers who feel they are not respected by the administration.
The formal opposition, called "No More Excuses, Tyler ISD!" feels that if the bond passes now, all leverage to get these internal issues addressed will be gone.
The teachers who are experiencing the problems first-hand have remained silent for fear of losing their jobs or retaliation by the district. But now, they've chosen to speak up. A majority of those teachers asked to remain anonymous.
The teachers agreed to talk about the things going on within the walls of their schools that they feel the administration does not want the public to know about. The teachers who spoke with us are from different campuses, and do not know the identities of the other teachers that came forward to talk about their concerns.
"The greatest struggle we have as teachers, is that there seems to be an effort to cover up how much of a discipline problem there is in the individual school. It's not a healthy place to work anymore. It's not a fun place. They are taking the joy and the passion from many excellent teachers," says one teacher who spoke with us under the condition that they remain anonymous.
This teacher says teachers no longer feel safe in their own classrooms.
"It's not only frustrating, it's frightening because we have many teachers, male and female, who have been threatened. We've had serious threats that have been ignored and swept under the rug because they don't want to follow through on the paperwork which would ultimately let the Texas Education Agency have an understanding of how bad things really are," says the teacher.
These teachers say their greatest struggle comes from a lack of support from administrators when it comes to discipline and education.
"The only thing that seems to matter to the administration is whether or not they're going to get a lawsuit against them," says the teacher.
We asked a different teacher, "Do you think that teachers within TISD feel comfortable approaching administrators with their concerns?" That teacher answered, "No. Teachers do not feel comfortable. We've tried that for the last three and a half and four years and there isn't a single administrator that has ever responded," the teacher says.
Teachers say that the teachers who do speak out, get "blacklisted", reassigned and refused the transfers they want.
"They don't want you talking to parents. They don't want you to speak to anybody else," says a teacher.
Teachers say the environment within the district has resulted in teachers seeking employment in other districts or retiring early. One of those teachers is Sheryl Chester.
"I thought I wanted to teach for two more years," says Sheryl.
After 33 years with Tyler ISD, she says she was bullied into early retirement.
"If the walls could talk and if these teachers were not afraid of losing their jobs, they would be here, but they know they're going to be bullied. They know they're going to be harassed and it is allowed," she says.
Sheryl says she had nightmares about district administrators and the way she and some of her peers were treated.
"I've seen double standards. There are those that can get away with practically anything," she says.
Sheryl says what breaks her heart, and so many others' is the restrictions put on teachers teaching that result in a lack of learning.
"I look at teachers now and everything is dictated to them. They're like robots. They can't teach," Sheryl says.
"For the last 5 years we've gone from acceptable and recognized, to failing and I know that has not been addressed. Since the advent of CSCOPE, we have continuously... even perpetually slid academically downhill," says a Tyler ISD teacher.
"They're ignoring the teachers and not paying attention to us. They say we're important, but their actions say otherwise," says another teacher.
The teachers say they acknowledge that the discipline at some TISD campuses is in much better shape than their own, but they say that the problems they describe are district-wide.
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