WKOW reported yesterday that an investigation is ongoing to determine the veracity of more than 1000 doctor excuses that have been handed in by Madison teachers in an attempt to justify their absence from teaching duties that ultimately resulted in the closing of school for four consecutive days. The results of this inquiry will result in teacher suspension.
"A new contract with Madison teachers says fraudulent excuses will result in a letter of suspension but won't require suspended teachers to be off from work." How is that for punishment! I mean really, if this is the ultimate result of any investigation, what is the point? Why even proceed with the charade? It gets better though:
A district spokesman says it is looking at how many excuses were written by the same physician and checking to make sure the listed physician is in fact the employee's doctor.
The new teacher contract says fraudulent excuses will result in "suspension with time served." That means teachers won't miss any more days of school, but they will be on probation and could face greater consequences for any future incidents. (Emphasis added)
The fact that this verdict comes as a result of contract negotiation reveals the exact reason collective bargaining should be eliminated as part of public sector union negotiations.
This of course does not bode well for those of us hoping to see the proverbial hammer come down on the physicians who were actually writing the notes, but there is yet hope. Their fate will not be determined on the basis of contract negotiations. There are folks actually doing some investigation into these actions who have a direct interest in maintaining professionalism and integrity.
The MacIver Institute of Madison continues to closely follow the case. They have obtained copies of the letter that has been sent to 11 physicians who have been identified as having handed out work notes on February 19th and requires them to respond by March 21, 2011.
This particular investigation into doctor's culpability is given added significance due to Sen Pam Galloway MD, Chairman of The Public Health Committee, who has taken a keen interest.