Friday, November 20, 2009
Finally, A Teacher Sues The DOE When Falsely Accused Of Sexual Misconduct
Over the eight years of Joel Klein's tenure as Chancellor of the New York City's Department Of Education (DOE) the central bureaucracy (Tweed) has seen an increase of non-educators and lawyers while employing less educators at the highest decision-making levels. The hiring of more non-educators ruining Tweed has resulted in an increasingly anti-teacher climate. Historically, the "rubber rooms" averaged about 90 teachers citywide, most accused of criminal or serious sexual offenses. However, under Joel Klein's tenure we have seen the number of "rubber room" teachers increase to about 650. Nearly a sevenfold increase!
One of the more interesting developments under Joel Klein's leadership is that once a teacher is served his or her 3020-a charges, the teacher will end up with a two year stay while the process plays out. While I am sure that the DOE can rescind 3020-a charges when the accusations are later to be found false or frivolous. I do not know of any teacher that actually had their 3020-a charges dropped. I believe that DOE's own arrogance stops them from admitting that many 3020-a charges are bogus and they rather go into the 3020-a hearing with a weak hand and practice character assassination then admit that 3020-a charges should not have been brought in the first place.
The reason that the DOE can abuse the 3020-a process is the unwillingness of the UFT to go after the DOE's abusive practices against their teachers. Once in the "rubber room" the UFT leadership washes their collective hands of the teacher. Yes, they give the teacher a NYSUT lawyer and speak of due process rights but in reality to the UFT these reassigned teachers have one foot out the door and if, by chance, survives the 3020-a process, are welcomed back as powerless ATRs. The vast increase of "rubber room" teachers would not be possible without the quiet approval of a union that believes these reassigned teachers are guilty of something. Compounding the UFT unwillingness to help the teacher with an independent investigation and adhering to the contract time lines, is the unfair and biased investigations by the DOE and their investigative agencies against the targeted teacher. I have previously complained about the corrupt investigation process that lands teachers in the "rubber room" without any recourse. It seems that finally there is a teacher who is willing to fight back.
In a NY! post, teacher Daniel Smith has filled a federal lawsuit against the DOE and SCI for illegally removing him to the "rubber room" and costing him per session money. While I do not know his full story. I hope what he claims is correct and that he wins his case against the evil twins the DOE's Office Of Legal Services and SCI. A win for him may help reduce the DOE abuse of the 3020-a process. Good luck and best wishes from all of us.