Teachers’ union expels whistleblower school counselor

In a move rarely seen, a local teachers’ union has “expelled” one of its members.

Rochester school district student counselor Christina Barton (who voiced concern over transgender and gender-expansive administrative “guidelines” that she was “warned” against making public) recently received a letter from the Rochester Education Association stating she had violated the National Education Association’s (NEA’s) “code of ethics” and was therefore being expelled from the union.

The union claimed that Barton “mischaracterized Rochester Public Schools policies and practices regarding LGBTQ+ students, spoke negatively of fellow union members, and spread misinformation about transgender youth” in her Alpha News YouTube interview. “…[W]e find your interview to be in violation of NEA code of ethics Principal 1 (2, 3, 4, 5),” the letter continued.

According to the union, Barton violated the following:

-The educator “shall not unreasonably deny the student’s access to varying points of view”;

-The educator “shall not deliberately suppress or distort subject matter relevant to the student’s progress”;

-The educator “shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning or to health and safety”; and

-The educator “shall not intentionally expose the student to embarrassment or disparagement.”

The union stated it “recognizes” that Barton is “free to hold whatever viewpoints you wish regarding LGBTQ+ students or any other matter, but viewpoints are not free from consequences, especially if they cause or contribute to unprofessional behavior.”

According to the union’s constitution and bylaws, the Rochester Education Association Executive Board has to first “observe” a “member’s due process rights” before “censor[ing], suspend[ing], or expel[ling] a member for violation” of the NEA Code of Ethics. Barton states she was never given due process rights.

“It seems that in a culture where ‘all are welcome’ and ‘kindness abides and bullying isn’t allowed’ that only those employees who succumb to censorship and intimidation are welcome,” Barton said.

“Following my public statement to the school board on March 19, I have experienced countless retaliatory responses that are unprofessional, inaccurate, and very hurtful to me as a person as well as a concerned counselor and parent who is merely trying to advocate in the best interests of kids and on behalf of all parents,” Barton said. “I love my students with all of my heart and soul; always have, always will.”

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Note: Under Minnesota labor law, the union bargains on behalf of both members and nonmembers, given it is the exclusive representative.