MNPS security officers file several complaints describing toxic work environment

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Metro Nashville Public Schools, Metro Schools, Generic, MNPS_306180

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Over the last two years, 14 complaints have been filed by Metro Nashville Public School security officers to its human resources and employee relations departments.

“The morale itself has been low,” said Security Officer James Franklin Spencer III. “We had grievance upon grievance just sitting there. Not being answered. Nobody reached out. Nobody followed up.”

MNPS said it has reached out on nearly every claim received by HR with a few exceptions, but Spencer says he’s not happy with the lack of resolution.

Spencer filed wage complaints after a 2017 pay step policy was implemented for new employees. He and others say the salaries are unfair to those that have tenure in the security department.

“There shouldn’t be a person like myself with the ten-year tenure and a person coming in, you know, new to the district, and getting paid at a higher compensation rate. Morally, it shouldn’t be that way,” Spencer said.

MNPS said the employee compensation is a step approach based on experience levels and promotion.

So, with wage, age and racial discrimination claims combined with hostile work environment complaints regarding leadership, security officers went to the school board for answers.

“It’s very disappointing to see the number of claims,” said MNPS Board Member Fran Bush.

Bush brought forth a motion on Tuesday night’s board meeting to approve an external investigation into the department based on the complaints. Her motion failed with the board.

Spencer said there are 41 employees within the security department, and out of those, 14 complaints have been filed over the last two years.

“The MNPS security department, they’re very broken, they’re very broken because this is their director of schools. This is who they protect,” Bush said.

MNPS Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle said on Friday that HR has spent a disproportionate amount of time investigating these claims, and that as a director, she does not get involved in every dispute between employees.

Because Bush’s motion to investigate was rejected, Spencer said officers are planning to file more grievances in the hopes that resolution can be accomplished.

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