Accusations claim some Collier teachers are violating local policy, state law

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NAPLES, Fla. – E-mails are surfacing that suggest Collier County teachers maybe breaking school district and even state rules on the job.

The allegations began surfacing in January. Parents, teachers and some board members tell WINK News it has to do with the upcoming 2016 election; they say there are district teachers campaigning in the classroom and using district resources to do it. Board members say it’s a violation of local policy and state law. They say there is proof and showed our cameras district e-mails.

“Here are the e-mails, they are talking about organizing letters to the editor,” explains Board Member Kelly Lichter. “These e-mails are done Tuesday, March 3rd at 9:04 a.m. with Collier e-mail addresses.”

Lichter says the e-mails range from telling people who to support to organizing groups to send negative letters to local media outlets about Lichter and another board member.

Lichter says the e-mails violate three local board policies and a state law.

“They are more than welcome to bash me all day long, outside of school. They cannot do this organizing in the school.” The actual e-mails surfaced about a month ago and were brought before the Collier County School Board.

Wednesday, about a month after it was brought up, WINK News reached out to the district. The district tells WINK News it handled the teacher and e-mail issues, but Lichter says that contradicts what the superintendent told her this week.

“I asked the superintendent yesterday to follow-up on what has happened as a result,” said Lichter. “It turns out, nothing really has been done.” Lichter says after the local and state violation, the teacher was told “not to do it again”.

Parents also reached out to WINK News and say the campaigning is also happening inside the classroom.

“There are allegations that a teacher was encouraging students in the classroom to attend a board meeting to speak out of allegations of censorship attempts by Mrs. Donalds and Mrs. Lichter to ban books in the classroom,” said Collier County parent Doug Lewis. Lewis says it happened in his son’s classroom and he spoke to the board on January 20 about it.

Parents say there are numerous teachers campaigning across the district. WINK News reached out to the Collier County School District and officials have the names of many teachers involved. The district is not making a statement at this time. WINK News is continuing to press for answers and will bring you an update on any future investigations.

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