Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ask a VEA Attorney

Question:  I've got serious issues with my principal, but I'm not an Association member. Can I join the VEA and get help immediately?

Answer:  By joining, you benefit from VEA advocacy for public education and public school employees. Your compensation, benefits, retirement, license requirements, work conditions and employment rights are shaped by VEA participation in public debate and presence at political votes. We'd love to have you-the more members, the stronger our voice. 

You need to be a member to get VEA advice and assistance. As a member, you can call on a VEA-employed UniServ Director (UD), who's familiar with your school division but not a school employee, and can help you go over events and records, understand expectations, and make an appropriate response. The UD's perspective and support may be all you need to deal with your demanding principal.
VEA members are covered by liability insurance, based on membership on the date of the "occurrence." The occurrence is not the day you are arrested or sued, but the date of the events for which you are prosecuted or sued.

VEA also provides legal representation to members who must defend themselves in employment matters such as dismissal or accusations of child abuse. If you didn't join in your first 30 days of Virginia public school employment, you will not be eligible for VEA-paid legal assistance for the first 30 days of your membership. You will not be eligible for VEA-paid legal representation in a retirement case until you have been a member for at least one year.  

Late may be better than never. But waiting until you know you are in trouble costs you valuable benefits and assistance.

Obtain a PDF version of this by clicking here.

(SOURCE: Virginia Journal of Education, November 2012, page 24.)
Copyright © 2012 by the Virginia Education Association.  Used with permission.