South Bend teachers fear age discrimination

Word is quickly spreading through South Bend about emails that surfaced from South Bend School Board President Roger Parent.

Parent sent emails to superintendent Carol Schmidt, after he says he received complaints from citizens in the area.

Two young teachers at Wilson school were terminated after budget cuts, while two teachers eighty and older remained at Hamilton Traditional School.

Parent says he's worried the evaluation process isn't doing enough, and seniority is playing too big of a role.

Parent says it's not age that worries him, he himself is 73. Instead he thinks the corporation is disriminating against young teachers.

But, the local teacher's union is firing back claiming this is a form of age discrimination.

N-E-A President Jason Zook says, "the problem is the comments that were made. He's basically saying let's remove the older teachers, gently, out the door, which means let's put pressure on them, let's get them out and get younger teachers in."

But Parent defends his comments claiming, "the overall problem is that the system tends to discriminate against young people. And it's done so for years, this is a national problem. And we have to do a better job at supporting our young teachers and keeping the ones who work out very well in the system."

Stricter criteria has already been put in place that knocks seniority down to the bottom of the list. Before it comes licensing, higher degress, and previous evaluations.

Zook says it should be up to administrators to evaulate teachers, and it should do nothing with age.

One teacher who feels personally attacked by the comments says she plans on filing a discrimination complaint with the Human Rights Commision.

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