AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – In less than a week, an Amherst student newspaper has accused guidance counselors of being transphobic, the Superintendent has taken of leave of absence, and the Union representing teachers has issued a no confidence vote. On Monday night the Amherst School Committee is set to discuss what’s next.
The Amherst Pelham Education Association is calling for an investigation into School Superintendent Michael Morris and for the Assistant Superintendent to resign.
Chalk messages supporting the LGBTQ+ community have been scrawled onto the side of Amherst Regional Middle School. It was less than a week ago an article was released by the High School paper “The Graphic.” The student-run publication reported multiple guidance counselors at the middle school called trans students and staff by the wrong names and pronouns and also failed to respond to or report anti-LGBTQ+ bullying.
All three counselors deny the allegations in the piece put out last Tuesday. On Friday, it was announced Superintendent Dr. Michael Morris was going on temporary leave due to personal health reasons.
However, the next day Amherst Pelham Education Association voted overwhelmingly that they have no confidence in Dr. Morris, saying Morris failed to “promptly deal with complaints of anti-LGBTQIA+ behavior on the part of some staff,” and called on Assistant Superintendent Doreen Cunningham to resign.
Now the Regional School Committee plans to have two executive sessions Monday and Tuesday with the Superintendency Union 26 Committee. They will consider contract terms for an acting superintendent then with an attorney, adding they will “not be discussing or deciding who the Acting Superintendent should or will be in executive session.”
After executive session Tuesday, the school committee will open the meeting to the public at the high school library. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m.