Students back transferred teachers

Embattled teacher Matt Nelligan has handed in his letter of resignation, but supporters continue to rally around him.

Elijah Sharma, founder of United for McManus and Nelligan, a group formed in support of Nelligan and his colleague Ann Marie McManus, social studies teachers who were transferred from the high school to the middle school after a controversial culture climate inquiry, said the students were saddened by the news of Nelligan's resignation.

Sharma said the group is taking steps to prevent future problems in the school district.

I'm not surprised he chose to resign because of the way he was treated, but I am disappointed, Sharma, a senior at Guilderland High School, said.

Sharma said Nelligan was one of the best teachers in the district.

Nelligan, handed in his letter of resignation on Friday, Sept. 5, one day after school started, according to district officials. His last day was Monday, Sept. 8.

Mark Hansen, a spokesman for the state Senate, said Nelligan has taken a position with the Members Service Unit to begin Sept. 23.

As the 2008 school year wrapped up, Nelligan and McManus were told they were being transferred to Farnsworth Middle School following an inquiry by a third party that cited homophobic language being used in the Social Studies department, although nothing was pinned to the teachers specifically.

Protest groups formed over the summer, swarming the school board meetings, as a result of the transfer.

Sharma said United for McManus and Nelligan, an organization with a 500-member e-mail list, is releasing four stipulations for the district to comply with, or else, he said, the group will begin organizing rallies to urge voters to reject the May budget.

The students are asking the district to reverse the transfer of McManus and issue a formal apology to the community and the two teachers.

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