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Students, friends rally for teacher

Hundreds of supporters rallied for teachers Matt Nelligan and Ann Marie McManus at Guilderland High School Tuesday, July 1.

After the district conducted a culture climate inquiry, they decided to move the teachers to middle school for creating a negative environment. Many were upset by the decision.

Former students, teachers and friends showed their support for the teachers by preparing speeches to present to the Guilderland Board of Education, although the board would not listen to the speakers in the public forum.

Anyone who wanted to comment on a "personnel issue" would have to do so in executive session, since the board deemed the issue confidential.

The supporters went on with the rally even after the board left for executive session.

"This is outrageous. They're both dedicated teachers," said Michael Park, who recently graduated from the high school.

"It would be a great injustice to move them down to the middle school," said Greg Alliger, another former student.

Caitlin Walsh, a 2006 graduate of the high school, spoke to the board in the executive session.

"They were a lot more open," she said. "They were willing to listen in there."

She said, though, she wishes she had the opportunity to say what she said to the board in the public forum.

Councilman Mark Grimm, who sits on the Guilderland Town Board, was also present, and showed his support for the teachers.

Grimm said legal action was going to follow shortly.

"The teachers have an extraordinary case. There's going to be a legal battle and it's going to cost money," said Grimm.

Grimm asked for donations to help support the teachers legal case.

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