LAWRENCE — The trio of unions representing more than 1,500 educators, nurses, specialists, paraprofessionals, administrators and other staff at Lawrence Public Schools issued a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Cynthia Paris on Thursday night. 

The unions say Paris “bullied employees back into school buildings” before they were safe, leading to the death of a staff member last fall.

A letter signed by the Lawrence Teachers Union, Lawrence Federation of Paraprofessionals and the Lawrence Administrative Support Staff Association argues that repeated pleas to Paris from community leaders and union officials to delay reopening of schools were ignored.

Further, they say Paris refused to seek a waiver from the state to support a “safe” in-person return to schools, like other schools in the Merrimack Valley.

Lawrence students began returning to class April 5 on a staggered schedule.

“There has been a lack of leadership and preparation to reopen the schools, both in regards to safety and to technology/operational needs (transportation issues, internet connectivity issues, failure to prepare and purchase microphones and speakers, etc.) from Superintendent Cynthia Paris,” the letter states.

The group is demanding that the Lawrence Alliance for Education, the receivership board that makes decisions governing the public school system, “take swift, immediate, and decisive action to protect students and staff, as well as the public health of our community-at-large.”

 

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