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JFT Update


From the Lawyer’s Desk

By Larry Samuel, JFT General Counsel
Rittenberg, Samuel & Phillips, LLC
“I’m here From Human Resources and I need to speak with you.”
The day begins as most days do. You get ready to go to work, you go to work, and you begin working….when…suddenly…someone approaches you and says, “I’m here from Human Resources and I need to speak with you. Or you may receive a phone call, directing you to report to Human Resources.
The H.R. representative may begin by telling you that a student or parent has made an accusation against you. Or maybe it has to do with administering a standardized test. Or perhaps it involves money. Even if you are innocent, your heart begins racing.
The H.R. representative then gives you information.

What should you do? What should you say? Following is our advice to JFT members:

First, - and this is crucial - try to remain calm. Collect yourself. Maybe you remember the situation. Maybe you don’t have a clue what they’re talking about. Maybe you are innocent. Maybe you’re not. Maybe the situation has been exaggerated. Or maybe not. Try to be calm. Due process procedures will be implemented.

Second, - and this is also crucial - don’t give any information or try to explain your side. Chances are, you are upset and emotional, and that’s the worst time to explain anything. Even if you aren’t upset or emotional, wait to give your side until the school district gives you due process.

Third, - and this is REALLY crucial – if a police officer or sheriff’s deputy wants to ask you questions, give them your name, address, etc., but don’t say anything else and don’t answer any questions. State that you are a member of the union and you would like to call the union first.

Fourth, - and this, too, is crucial - listen closely to what the H.R. representative has to say. The H.R. representative should explain their procedures. You are not required to make any statements at this time, and you shouldn’t, even if you are 100% innocent.

Fifth, - and this is equally crucial - if you may be escorted to the office, you should cooperate. You may be sent home. It’s okay to ask to retrieve your keys, purse, etc. H.R. will allow that, and will probably accompany you back to your room, which hopefully will be done outside the presence of students.

Sixth, - and this is also crucial - if you are given a conference form, you should sign it. The form already has the following preprinted language: “I have read and received a copy of this form. Signature does not imply agreement or disagreement with content.” The Conference Form also has a section entitled “COMMENTS (Employee).” You should simply state: “To be submitted later” or words to that effect.

Seventh and this is just as crucial - if you are a JFT member, tell the H.R. representative “I am a JFT member. Please contact JFT before scheduling a due process Conference.”

Eighth and this is extremely crucial - CALL JFT IMMEDIATELY after leaving work, if you are a JFT member. Please don’t wait until you hear back from Human Resources. This step is necessary so that JFT can confirm to H.R. that JFT is going to represent you.

Ninth and this is truly crucial – Someone may tell you that you have the right to resign. Do NOT make a rash decision. Consult with JFT for advice first.

Tenth and this is really, really crucial – be sure to have JFT representation at your due process conference (JFT members only).

It is very tempting to divulge everything right away. You may feel that it’s all a big misunderstanding and after H.R. hears your side they will surely allow you to immediately return to your classroom. But it doesn’t work that way. Human Resources will conduct an investigation. They will gather statements, which sometimes takes a day or two or much longer. JFT will explain everything to you when you call.

Remember – representation and assistance is for JFT members only. That means that you must be a member before the underlying situation occurred.

Senate Bill 31

On Thursday, October 8th the Senate Education Committee will hear Senate Bill 31 by Senator Cleo Fields. If passed, this bill would prohibit the use of statewide student assessments conducted during the 2020-2021 school year from being used to evaluate teacher performance.

Please use the following link, asking the Senate Education Committee to support this important bill:

Louisiana Federation of Teachers

Virtual Professional Development: Self-Care Series

October 17th, 9:00 AM
Handling Stress

Stress is inevitable. Educators face many challenges, especially the desire to be the best for their students. Unmanaged stress, however, can cause irreparable health issues. This module examines research findings that identify ways of handling stress communities by developing collaborative and decision-making skills and by using proven protocols for researching, planning and implementing lesson plans that get results.

November 14th, 9:00 AM
Taking Care of Your Well-Being

Taking care of your well-being goes beyond outward appearances. How you balance your physical, spiritual and emotional health, alongside your interactions with the world you live in will determine the success of your personal healthcare. In this session, learn how to tackle of all aspects of “you” to increase the likelihood that you stay well. Taking care of yourself is paramount to your success.

**Please use this link to register:

The login code will be emailed to registered participants prior to the training.

Safety Reporting Form

Thank you to all who have used the reporting form! This information has been shared with the appropriate Chiefs and/or Executive Directors for resolution. Please continue to use this form to record safety concerns at your school/worksite

Your name is not revealed, when sharing this information with the district.

Calendar Survey

Thank you for those who completed the survey! At this time, the instructional minutes for this school year have not been excused. We will continue to address this issue with our state affiliate, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.

The results of our survey are as follows:

  • 67% of employees surveyed would prefer to have an extended school day to make up all the instructional minutes instead of taking student/employee holidays.
  • 7% of employees survey would prefer a combination of minutes added to each school day and a reduction in some holidays?  
  • 26% of employees surveyed would prefer to keep the Amended Calendar “G” 2020/2021 for students and parent calendar?  (calendar updated 9/15/2020)

Hurricane Laura Donations

Kudos to everyone for their generous donations! A special shout out to the students and staff of Gretna Middle School! Collection of items will conclude this Friday. If you need your items picked up, please contact the JFT office.

COVID Reporting

JPPSS has prepared a protocol for schools to follow when a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19. Here is a summary:

  1. If an employee tests positive, the employee is directed to consult with the school nurse and to contact the H.R. Leaves Department.
  2. The principal or designee must enter the information into the school district’s tracker.
  3. The school must notify EDSS after consulting with the school nurse. EDSS then notifies the JPPSS Chief of Staff.
  4. The principal or designee must then identify close contacts (persons who have been within six feet of the person who tested positive, for at least 15 minutes). [Note, in many school districts, this involves viewing video camera tapes.]
  5. The school nurse then must notify the Louisiana Department of Health.
  6. By the end of the same day, the principal or designee must send an email to the staff member who tested positive or to the parent/guardian of the student who tested positive.
  7. By the end of the same day, the principal or designee must send an email to the persons who have been identified by the school as close contacts.
  8. By the end of the same day, the principal or designee must send a notice to the parents and staff who were not close contacts. [Note: the notice informs the parents and staff that someone at the school tested positive, but they were not identified as someone who had close contact with the person who tested positive.]
  9. Before the student or staff member returns to school, they must provide advance notice and meet return to school/work requirements (such as medical clearance).

Additionally, use the JFT reporting form to document this information.

If you are a JFT member, and have any questions, please contact the JFT office.

Solidarity Day

The first Wednesday of every month is JFT Solidarity Day which coincides with the Jefferson Parish School Board Meetings. We ask that each member wear their JFT blue and then join us at the school board meeting.

We have received your feedback on the virtual and in person learning and will discuss the results and your feedback at the School Board Meeting, this Wednesday, October 7, 2020. We urge you to attend the meeting and voice your concerns as well. It is always powerful when you share your personal experiences!

Join us at the School Board Meeting this Wednesday at 501 Manhattan for 6 PM.

Custodian Appreciation Day

On Friday, October 2nd we celebrated Custodian Appreciation Day. All of our custodian members were presented with a gift certificate and a small token of our appreciation to honor their dedicated service. This year has been especially difficult for all of us, but it's important to remember all our custodians do to keep our schools safe and healthy. If you haven't already -- thank your custodian today!

JFT Virtual General Membership Meeting

Save the Date:

Tuesday, October 27, 2020


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