Eichelberger should embrace common sense

Even though the state Legislature, including Republicans in his own party, has twice voted down his “paycheck protection” legislation, Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., R-Blair, vows to introduce the bill again.

Along with this anti-worker proposal, Eichelberger is also responsoring Senate Bill 649, which would potentially strip public school teachers of their sick leave, bereavement leave and sabbatical leave, which are currently provided by Pennsylvania Public School Code.

This bill was also rejected by legislators last year, yet Eichelberger continues to waste the time of the Legislature and taxpayer monies by reintroducing bills that have already failed to win support.

Ironically, Eichelberger enjoys paid sick leave and personal leave, as well as paid holidays and many other generous benefits that he doesn’t believe other workers deserve. All of these privileges are paid for him by taxpayers, many of whom Eichelberger turns around and tries to strip of their own benefits.

As a teacher of 13 years, I’ve only used two or three sick days my entire career. But having them is vitally important.

I’ve watched colleagues deal with cancer treatments, battle serious injury and care for children in critical condition. Our bereavement leave is clearly defined in the bargaining agreement with our own district, and teachers must provide documentation of the loved one they’ve lost.

Denying hardworking families the right to bury their spouses, parents or even children is barbaric.

Sabbatical leave is often misconstrued and misunderstood. Rarely have I seen a teacher actually use it.

The qualifying regulations are simply too stringent, and in the rare event that a teacher does elect and qualify for sabbatical, it is most often for furthering their education or pursuing an additional certification that will make them a more effective educator.

As a parent of three young children, I frankly wouldn’t want my girls’ teachers dragging themselves into school if they were ill, thus passing the sickness along to them.

As any parent knows, the bug will usually run its course throughout the whole household, keeping children home from school and costing parents work days at their jobs.

At some point, common sense needs to prevail.

At some point, our public school teachers who provide high quality education for the children of Blair County need to be outwardly supported by their communities and our elected officials.

And at some point, somebody from our area needs to put his or her hat in the ring to run against a senator that has waged war on the majority of his own middle class constituents since the day he was first elected. Support teachers, your children and your communities.

Tell Eichelberger that Senate Bill 649 is the wrong way to go for Pennsylvania.

James Krug

Altoona