Sunday, December 28, 2008
CHANCELLOR'S REGS ANTI-TEACHER
The following was sent to UFT Vice President Richard Farkas and forwarded to the New York Teacher (5/03)
To the Editor :
At a well-attended chapter meeting this morning the staff loudly voiced its concerns about a rash of corporal punishment allegations that have been made against teachers at our school. All of these allegations proved to be unfounded but teachers have been removed from the classroom for protracted periods of time while the allegations were being investigated. This not only demeans the teacher, but also disrupts the education of our students. I explained the Chancellor's Regulations to the staff and stressed caution in all dealings with children, but many felt that the regulations are ludicrously unjust to teachers. On the other hand, when students curse at or abuse teachers, little happens. Recently, for example, a teacher's aide was physically assaulted by a student. There was a superintendent's suspension as well as police charges. Even before this case was heard in court, the student was returned to our school as if nothing had happened. District 6 would not transfer the student. Such incidents undermine the school's disciplinary code and destroy staff morale. The Chancellor's Regulations are clearly anti-teacher. Teachers are considered guilty until an outside investigator gets around to determining that the charges were unfounded. In one current case, even after a teacher was cleared, he is still waiting for authorization to return to his classroom. We have had cases where teachers were removed from their classrooms for weeks before being returned. Another unfortunate result of this process is that children have learned that they can get back at a teacher by making a single allegation. Some have even turned it into a game of trying to get a teacher fired. In addition, there seem to be forces outside the school that are influencing parents to make frivolous complaints against staff. All of this has created a climate where teachers have to think twice about enforcing discipline or coming to the assistance of a colleague.We understand and support regulations that exist to protect children. However, the current regulations are grossly out of balance. The regulations are being used to attack teachers for ulterior purposes. The effect of this is damage to teachers' well-being and morale, disrupted education and wasted money for coverage of the classes of teachers removed from duty. Teachers deserve and are entitled to the same legal principle that all Americans enjoy : innocent until proven guilty, and a fair and quick hearing.
John Eichele, IS 52, Manhattan
About Joel Klein (NYC BOE press dept.)