Thursday, April 01, 2010

"Here Comes The Clowns" - The Legacy Of The 2005 Contract - Part 4 : The "Probable Cause" Bomb

One of the most dangerous "givebacks" that our union gave up to the City was taking teachers off the payroll for up to three months simply when a student accused the teacher of sexual misconduct. No other school district in New York State has this provision and nor should they. Our union gave up the right of "innocent until proven guilty" simply on hearsay evidence. According to SCI and the DOE our President Barack Obama, could be subject to "probable cause" because of his apparent leering of the high school girl's backside. When this provision was discussed in Edwize, the leaders in objecting to this provision came from UFT Presidential candidate James Eterno, nyc educator, JD2718, and myself. As for Mike (call me Michael) Mulgrew doing this time? Not a peep. Unless he was the HS Shop Teacher who defended this contract. Time and again we demanded that the "Unity" minister of propaganda, Leo Casey clearly explain why the union agreed to this provision. Instead Leo Casey, responded by insulting us and accusing us of protecting pedophiles and perverts rather than answer the question on what constitutes "probable cause". You can find our complaints and Leo Casey's deceptive responses here. Of course Leo Casey knew full well that simple hearsay could land a teacher suspended without pay for three months since you only need to read what the union sent to NYSUT legal as evidence of "probable cause". You can find this shocking definition in an article right here. In essence Appendix H of the "probable cause" agreement allows the Arbitrator to take a teacher offline simply by hearsay evidence, not the facts.

Here are some real examples of people who were subject to the "probable cause" provisions.

Case 1: A teacher tells a student that does not belong in his class to get the F**k out of my class. The student, embarrassed told her two friend later that day that the teacher told her that he would like to f**k her. The three girls went to the Principal who took statements and reported it to SCI. Interestingly, not one person in his class heard him say what the girl claimed. However, Appendix H allows for hearsay and the teacher was put on "probable cause".

Case 2: A teacher was joking with his high school ESL class and said he has had many girlfriends over the years. When the students asked him if he had sex with them, He joked, everyone of them, who can resist me. The students laughed because he was quite ugly but one student reported it to Assistant Principal who contacted OSI and was found subject to "probable cause" for his light hearted bantering despite the 3020-a Arbitrator finding him innocent in his 3020-a hearing, the Arbitrator would not give him back the money he lost while under "probable cause".

Case 3: A teacher has been having a long-term relationship with a women who has a 13 year old daughter. The daughter tells her cousin that her mother's boyfriend is hot and she wants to have sex with him. Just a childhood fantasy? Well the cousins later had a fight and the cousin told her mother that the teacher and the girl had sex. The mother reported it to the police and ACS who both investigated and realized it was simply the girl trying to get her cousin jealous that a grown man was interested in her. However, in the bizarre world of the DOE any accusation must be true and had SCI investigate. Despite affidavits by all involved that nothing ever happened, SCI substantiated (how?) the cousin's recanted accusation and he is now under "probable cause".

Case 4: A female teacher was falsely accused of touching a special education student in his privates. The teacher was arrested but the police dropped all charges as the DA found that the child made up the story and had his two friends claim it happened. However, here comes SCI who believes the three students even after the DA found the students unbelievable and now the teacher is under "probable cause" despite the lack of credibility of the students.

Case 5: SCI claimed a teacher asked a student out on a date. However, in the 3020-a hearing the student admitted that he asked the entire class to go get ice cream, not just her. She claimed she told the SCI investigator that he never propositioned her but admitted she felt uncomfortable with the attention he gave her because of the personal problems she had. This poor teacher was subject to "probable cause" as well.

There are more cases like the five I identified and very few fall into Leo Casey's pervert or pedophile category. All five teachers are caring people and tried to do the right thing but for some reason the student didn't like the approach. Does this allow the DOE to remove a teacher? Thanks to Leo Casey and our union the answer is yes. If you think this will never apply to you? Just read this.

Teacher Contract 6/1/2003-11/12/2007


On October 2, 2005 the following understanding was reached regarding probable cause hearings:

"The UFT will conduct a meeting of lawyers who represent UFT members in 3020-a proceedings to inform them about the new procedures regarding offenses involving sexual misconduct with a student or minor not a student. During that meeting there will be a discussion of what would constitute probable cause including that we agree that in a probable cause hearing the hearing officer may accept hearsay as evidence of probable cause, and that a criminal complaint and corroborating affidavit of the SCI report is sufficient evidence to create a rebuttable presumption of probable cause".

In other words simply hearsay is sufficient to remove a teacher on "probable cause". You can thank the "Unity" people for this. Here again. Leo Casey and the other "Unity" lackeys are not subject to this provision since they don't deal with the students. You can thank our union clowns that allowed this travesty of justice in their ongoing effort to destroy teacher due process.


Anonymous said...

It's clear that as a teacher it's stupid now to have any verbal interaction at all with students, other than perfunctory communication.

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