The hyper-partisan #redfored strike by Arizona’s educators swept across the state leaving parents, apolitical teachers, and students wondering just what hit them. Substitute teacher, Jennifer Hill, is just one example of the victims of the political campaign that shut schools down for a week.
The strike was called by teachers unions to force Governor Doug Ducey to support a teacher pay increase.
Before teachers walked out of their classrooms, Ducey had already announced plans for a 20 percent pay increase by 2020. His announcement was expected to avert a walkout. However, because the walkout was part of a national political stunt organized by progressives, as opposed to a legitimate campaign to raise the dismal salaries of Arizona’s teachers, activists successfully called for a work stoppage.
While teachers were absent from their classrooms, they joined progressive activists on social media to attack critics. At the same time, parents affected by the walkout took to the internet and began sharing information. Within hours of the school closures, an article penned in the Arizona Daily Independent by Hill in September 2017, about an overly partisan classroom environment, went viral.
For her exposure of partisan politics in the classroom and support of the #purpleforparents group, Hill came under attack on social media.
On Friday, Hill, a 20 year veteran teacher, who has been a certified substitute teacher for the Chandler Unified School District since 2012, was notified that she had been fired.
“I have been speaking out against the #redfored “movement, have been posting my opposition in a respectful manner and have been on the radio speaking about the facts on the progress and budget. In the week before the teacher walk-out/strike, the district began canceling substitute jobs I had accepted and planned to work,” said Hill. “During the strike of course, there was no work. I had substitute jobs scheduled for after the strike and next week. The District cancelled all of them. On Friday morning I began to get harassing messages from teachers in the District saying they got me fired. They said they hoped that I would never sub anywhere else, ever again, and were laughing at me.”
According to Hill, at approximately 3:30 p.m., on Friday, she called the District’s substitute coordinator and explained who she was and her concerns about the threats and harassment. “She confirmed I had been fired and transferred me to the director of human resources,” said Hill. “The secretary said they have been, ‘waiting for my call’ and asked if I could come in. I asked why I had been fired and they said, “We heard about Facebook posts and we heard there was an incident at the junior high.”
Hill asked for more details since she had not worked at the junior high in months and was scheduled to substitute teach there on Friday. “The secretary immediately shut me down and said ‘the director will call later today.’ As of Friday afternoon at 5:00 p.m., I have not gotten a call.”
Hill and those who know her believe that she was slandered and fired for no other reason than her opposition to the strike and exposure of questionable, and possibly illegal teaching practices.
Hill intends to consult with an attorney as to what recourse she might have on the state and federal level.