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FTA opts for Do-It-Yourself greivances


FTA opts for Do-It-Yourself greivances

The good ol’ complaint box has taken on new form, it seems.

In case you missed it recently, campus safety is quickly emerging as the latest crisis at Fresno Unified, and Bullard High School has unwillingly been at the center of it.

You can wind the clock back to a bomb threat mixed with petty vandalism in 2014 as the unofficial start date of this crisis (though, undoubtedly, a few overzealous Fresno Unified watchers will go even further back into the minutiae). That threat  forced the school district to shut down the campus.

Just a few weeks ago, Bullard was paralyzed by the unauthorized entry of a relative of one of the students. The adult relative came to Bullard to assist her high-school-aged relative in a school yard beatdown that sent a teacher to the hospital.

This week, we got a glimpse into the mindset of the Fresno Teachers Association after these events. And their response was nothing short of baffling. Faced with a serious workplace safety issue, the union opted for a media availability at Bullard’s campus featuring a handful of teachers and Bullard’s football coach.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Donnie Arax (who just wrapped up a terrific season). But he knows as well as the rest of us that a winning game plan requires better tactics and optics.

The tactics were to go public, at a time when FTA desperately needs a win at the negotiating table and not in the headlines (it’s easy to beat Fresno Unified in a game of PR showdown). Instead of teachers barking at TV cameras, shouldn’t they be focusing their fire at their union representatives?

Then there are the optics: launching this “campaign” for campus safety at Bullard suggests only one thing: campus safety wasn’t a problem until it hit Bullard.

But that belies the reality of this problem – which has taken root to a greater extent in south Fresno schools than up north. In reality, this problem has existed for many more years in the halls of Roosevelt, where a student could easily be shot by a campus security officer, than at Bullard.

Of greater import – and the question that should be ringing in the heads of every teacher at a Fresno Unified campus: for what possible reason could there be to have a professionally-staffed teacher’s union if not to barge down the doors of Fresno Unified’s office and demand greater teacher protections?

Well, aside from serving as a receptacle of hard-earned dues.


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Alex Tavlian

Alex Tavlian is the owner of Sultana Media. Views expressed reflect those of the author only. He can be reached at

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