23 Aug 2014
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Trumbull Teachers Union: Change Parent Visiting Rules

The Trumbull Education Association president said for security and educational reasons, a limited number of parents should be allowed to visit schools at any given time.

Trumbull Teachers Union: Change Parent Visiting Rules Trumbull Teachers Union: Change Parent Visiting Rules
During open houses, anywhere from 90 to 200 parents could be in a Trumbull school.

That many could compromise school security and disrupts the educational process, said Tammy Baillargeon, president of the Trumbull Education Association.

"Our schools are not designed to absorb those numbers during the school day," she said at a recent Board of Education meeting, later adding, "This disruption to the learning process cannot be understated."

She asked for additional security and scheduled visitor openings to help teachers deal with the influx. Right now, teachers and administrators have been moderating open houses.

Baillargeon added that while many invitations ask parents not to bring siblings to open-house events, many parents do anyway.

The union president said open-house events are well-intentioned, but children who know their relatives are coming to school to visit can get distracted and not learn as well as they should.

As a result,  "Parents do not get to see the reality of the classroom," Baillargeon said.

She asked the school board members to observe the school on open house days.

Board of Education Chairman Steve Wright said while the union's concern was "absolutely legitimate," the schools superintendent needs make the decision on the matter.

Baillargeon replied that she has been talking with Supt. Gary Cialfi, who asked to continue the conversation.

Finally, the union head said some school districts in Connecticut "have decided this type of event will no longer take place."

"We don't want to close the doors. It's just a more controlled environment," Baillargeon said.

Board Vice Chairman Deborah Herbst, a former school principal, agreed that large numbers of visitors does affect security and the teaching and learning process. She added that school security measures should be discussed in executive session.

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