Saturday, October 25, 2008
The SCI Investigation Of Teachers Is Almost Always One-Sided And Biased. Especially When The Principal Pushes It!
One of the more serious investigations conducted on teachers, short of police detectives coming to arrest you, is a group of ex-police detectives hired by the Special Commissioner of Investigations (SCI) to investigate teacher and administrator misconduct that could lead to criminal charges but in many cases don't. These investigators are usually brought in when an accusation is made of serious misconduct. These investigators have the power to arrest the school employee and in a few cases do just that. However, in many cases SCI is called in by the Principal, who may rightly or wrongly suspect that an employee committed serious misconduct. Unfortunately, the Principal can also use SCI's services when they target a teacher and falsely claim that teacher committed major misconduct.
One of the first questions SCI asks the Principal is how he/she feels about the employee. If the Principal does not like the employee, you better believe that SCI will go out of their way to substantiate even the most minor incident as a cause for termination. The SCI investigators assume teacher guilt and their job is to to collect enough evidence to substantiate their assumption. No matter how flimsy or ridiculous the evidence is.
Unlike the OSI investigation, the SCI investigators show up unannounced and try to trap the teacher in incriminating themselves. They can show up at the school or your home and they have the right to seize your home computer. The SCI investigators travel in twos and in suits and will ask seemingly innocent questions to the naive teacher and use whatever the teacher said against them. Before, SCI interviews the teacher, they have already have put their story together. Therefore, once the tenured teacher speaks to the SCI investigators it only helps SCI firm up their story against the teacher.
Important: "If two people in suits ask to speak to you, do not speak to them, Ask for their business card and contact your Chapter Leader who will arrange for a lawyer to represent you"!
Once SCI substantiates even the most frivolous charge, assuming the Principal wants you out, expect their recommendation to be termination and you will be removed to the Teacher Reassignment Center, commonly known as the "rubber room". In almost all cases the DOE will file 3020-a charges and in an unwritten agreement between Joel Klein and Richard Condon of SCI, no settlements can be made. Only teacher resignations or retirements are allowed. Therefore, the accused teacher will need to go through the entire 3020-a hearing that can take up to three years to complete between the time the teacher is removed until a decision is made by the arbitrator.The good news is that the 3020-a arbitrators are aware of how SCI conducts their investigations and require DOE to provide witnesses and other evidence to determine the innocence or guilt of the teacher. The bad news, if SCI substantiates anything of a sexual nature, even if there wasn't anything sexual, the teacher could face a "probable cause" hearing and a 60 to 90 day unpaid suspension, without health or welfare benefits.
The SCI investigation is a serious thing and is usually unfair and biased against the teacher. However, in many cases they embellish, twist, pervert, or even invent incidents in their zeal to prove teacher guilt. This may lead to SCI's own undoing at the 3020-a hearing, where real evidence and witnesses are required. So if you are innocent, don't despair, the truth always comes out at the end.