HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Teachers, students, and parents all protested the Holyoke school committee meeting Monday night. It was in support of teacher Gus Morales, who’s losing his job from the Maurice A. Donahue Elementary School.
Marangely Castro of Holyoke told 22News, “Mr. Morales treats him like family. It’s nice to have a teacher that cares. He was awesome and it’s just upsetting.”
The teachers union elected Morales as their president in May. Holyoke Superintendent Sergio Paez said Morales is just one of many teachers getting laid off.
Paez said 15 to 20 teachers are going to be cut because of a $4.5 million budget deficit for the upcoming school year.
However, Morales told 22News he’s been cut for speaking out, especially against data walls, which publically post students names and their standardized test scores.
“One of my eighth grade students came up to me just after they had taken a standardized test, had her score printed, and displayed publicly, and she came to me crying asking if she’s stupid. I do a good job; how do I know this, because my students and my parents tell me,” said Morales.
Summer Kaeppel of Holyoke said, “Mr. Morales I know is strong in what he believes in. He cares a lot about his students. Everything he does is for his students.”
22News asked Superintendant Paez if Morales was being targeted. He said, “I can’t comment on any personal matters regarding an employee.”
The school committee’s exploring additional possible cuts. All final decisions must be made by July 1st.