Saturday, March 08, 2008
Disciplinary Letter-In-File (LIF) , Is It Subject To A 3020-a Hearing?
A little noticed event happened a while ago when four Brooklyn teachers received disciplinary letters in their files (LIF) for not reporting on another teacher who may, or may not have improperly touched students. The four teachers sued in court since the UFT negotiated away the right to grieve LIF. The NYS Supreme Court judges agreed with the four teachers that since disciplinary LIF cannot be grieved, the teachers should have their LIF's expunged or brought before an arbitrator under the state 3020-a regulations. The judges rightly determined that the teachers due process rights were violated. The DOE has appealed the judges decision to the NYS Appellate Court and if they lose, the consequences can be earth shattering.
Why are the judges decision significant? Because if it stands, the DOE and UFT will need to pay arbitrators to hear all disciplinary LIF's if the teacher demands it. Can you imagine the cost and chaos that will occur if all teachers appeal their disciplinary LIF's? As is, there are not enough arbitrators to hear the existing 3020-a cases, which is why there are two year waits by teachers presently in the 3020-a process. Many of us were slow to realize the implications of the four teachers winning their disciplinary LIF lawsuit. However, it is now becoming clear the havoc it will do to the 2005 contract provision of ungrievable LIF. In other words it looks like the lack of a grievance for a disciplinary LIF, agreed by the UFT & DOE, has backfired. The ICE-UFT blog has reported on the lawsuit previously but seemed not to realize the implications if the DOE loses the appeal. The article can be found on the link below.
The destruction that the 2005 contract has had on the teachers is well documented by many education bloggers, including myself, and I will not rehash it here. However, the judges decision may be the first significant step in reversing these terrible and punitive provisions of the 2005 contract. One can only hope that the DOE appeal is shot down and with it, the ungreivable LIF.