When the SDEA members of the Breakfast Club decided to recall the SDEA Board members who lied to us during their re-election in March by promising “No Layoffs, No Concessions” and delivering the exact opposite, we made the decision not to include other SDEA Board members who supported concessions. We left them out because they didn’t explicitly promise not to make concessions when they ran for office (they were simply silent on the issue).
However, other rank-and-file SDEA members have decided to launch an independent recall of SDEA Board member Dennis Schamp, and they seem to have some pretty good reasons.
Who is Dennis Schamp? Schamp is the member of the SDEA Board who pushed hardest and earliest for “open lines of communication with the District” last spring — those same lines that, once opened, resulted in SDEA opening our contract and members taking a 10% pay cut with another 8% to come if Prop. 30 fails. Still, while we disagree with Schamp’s position and think it has set our union and the teaching profession in San Diego back half a decade, we could still respectfully disagree with each other.
But Schamp isn’t interested in respectful disagreements. At last Wednesday’s SDEA Rep. Council meeting, Schamp interrupted the pre-meeting Q&A to grab the microphone from Freeman’s hand and read a typed, two-minute speech about his objections to the recall. Schamp ended his tirade by announcing that he just found out that he was being recalled, too, and storming back out of the building with the loud declaration regarding those who dared recall him saying, “And they can kiss my ass!”
Dennis Schamp thinks people who want to exercise their democratic rights within the union can “kiss his ass.” We certainly hope this isn’t how Schamp represents teachers and our union in other public settings.
And his outburst at Rep. Council wasn’t the first time Schamp has shown such blatant disregard for democracy. This past spring, Schamp worked with online persona “JK Masterson” (a blogger whom Schamp apparently met through his connections in the comic book world, and definitely NOT a teacher) to create a hit piece blog about our union. “Masterson” dedicated his blog to pushing SDEA concessions and bashing actual SDEA members who disagreed with him.
Read this again. SDEA Board member Dennis Schamp chose to work overtime (there were more than 25 pages of these blog posts online before the blog was shut down) with the persona “Masterson” to lodge false and misleading attacks on anyone choosing to disagree with him rather than having the courage to make these statements himself. (Please note that Erin Kole, also currently the subject of an SDEA Board recall, repeatedly posted links to JK Masterson’s blog on Facebook, stating that she didn’t know who the blogger was, but she really liked his posts. Jay Masterson still has a Twitter account that seems to have gone inactive shortly after the TA passed.)
There is a real difference between using your own name and posting your opinions about your own union online, which the SDEA members of the Breakfast Club proudly do, and hiding behind an anonymous online person who has nothing to do with our union to launch personal attacks that you don’t want to be associated with. Do SDEA members really want someone like Schamp as an SDEA Board member representing our union?
“He never came to us before or after the TA and asked us what we wanted,” said Clairemont High School teacher Stephanie Marble, one of the SDEA members who filed the recall petition. “He never asked for any teacher input about what we felt on any of it.” Schamp’s constituents expected to have a chance to influence his decisions about their contract before he voted to enter into concessions negotiations, not afterward.
And if we didn’t already understand why some SDEA members might choose to recall Schamp, after last Wednesday’s “kiss my ass” tantrum, we certainly do now.
Dennis Schamp represents secondary teachers in the Clairemont, Henry, Point Loma, and Kearny clusters. If you are a secondary teacher in one of those clusters and would like to participate in the recall of Dennis Schamp, you can download the materials here: