ACUSHNET — Recent social media posts by an unidentified Acushnet School Committee member, deemed critical of school staffers and student performance, have caused a rift between the school board and the Acushnet Teacher’s Association.

The union’s response to the online criticism was delivered to the school board by union president Lisa Carvalho, a kindergarten special education teacher, at the June meeting of the school committee. In a written statement read early in the meeting, Carvalho said that reading the public criticism of school staffers on social media was an “unprecedented” experience for her after 21 years in education.

“Committee members, past and present, have taken to social media to attack our staff members ... some (posts) calling them by name as being unqualified, and others by posting information that has no factual weight,” Carvalho noted. She did not identify the current or past committee members who posted the remarks during her reading of a prepared statement, except to note that one posting was made by a “disappointed” current member who supported the so-called regionalization study voted down at the spring annual town meeting.

“Acushnet teachers are focused on providing a safe environment and excellent education that the children of Acushnet deserve,” she said. Their dedication to the job does not “warrant the personal attacks that have come recently” from the current school board member, she added.

The union president cited positive Level 2 ratings for both Acushnet Elementary School and Ford Middle School, student test scores better than those in neighboring Fairhaven, and the Top 10 academic rankings of this year’s Acushnet graduates of Fairhaven High, New Bedford High, Bishop Stang and Old Colony Vocational as proof that Acushnet students are leaving the district well prepared for high school and beyond.

“With that data, how are we not serving our Acushnet students?” Carvalho asked the school committee members present. With no answer forthcoming, she continued on by noting that the First Amendment gives school board members the right to post opinions on social media, but feels the public criticism was undeserved “and reflects on your professionalism.”

Carvalho also suggested, “It’s been my goal to bridge the gap and restore the trust between the School Committee and the ATA. I feel that making these kinds of statements makes achieving this goal very difficult.”

She noted that school district policies on “electronic messaging” apply to both teachers and school board members, and asked that union members be given the same freedom to post their personal opinions on school committee decisions and policies. Those “network policies” have not been updated since 2013, she noted.

“I would like it on record that all ATA members are allowed to post their opinions on social media without any retaliation or ramifications from such statements. Is that something the committee is willing to do?” she asked.

School Committee Chair Sarah Gomes said the board would review the policy to see if some changes are needed. “What was printed, as of right now, is completely ethical and there are no violations” of existing policy, she explained.

As for employee postings, “as long as they adhere to the policy there is now, there should be no ramifications” for staff members, Gomes added. “We will be reviewing that policy right away,” she told over a dozen union members in the audience.

That answer satisfied the union delegation, which gave Carvalho a round of applause when she finished reading her statement with the comment, “We deserve and we demand the same respect that we give the committee.”

Still, she wanted to know, are staffers “not serving our students well?” The answer did not come from the chair or other committee members present; the discussion is likely to continue at the school committee’s July meeting, not yet scheduled as of press time.

The school board is scheduled to hold a special joint meeting with the Board of Selectmen on July 18 to appoint a new member to fill an open seat until the next election. Craig Sumner has expressed an interest in volunteering for the school board, and is expected to be appointed at that meeting.