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Saturday, December 5, 2009

NYC Teachers Sue The BOE For Rubber Room Assignments...Again

The plant in the picture above may look like the plant that you have in your apartment, have seen everyday at your work, or in your school. According to the New York City Board of Education, however, it was this plant, or one very similar, that

the administration of High School of
Fashion Industries
on 24th and 7th Avenue in Manhattan believed swallows children whole when teacher David Pakter bought it and donated it to the school. The purchase and donation of this dangerous threat to children sent esteemed teacher David Pakter back to the gulag called the "Rubber Room" to punish him for his crime of purchasing such a thing for the school lobby area. He is currently undergoing his second 3020-a hearing at 51 Chambers Street, and has filed two federal lawsuits in response to the NYC BOE's pattern of 'rubberizing' whistleblowers and teachers who speak up about wrong-doing in NYC schools. See below.

Union members and administrators are treated very differently in the New York City public school system. A principal who discriminates or does something else that is illegal or corrupt does not get the same punishment as a teacher or staff member, who, more often than not (especially if the individual is not 'politically connected'), is removed from the school - either fired immediately if this person is not tenured, or re-assigned to a "rubber room" if he/she has tenure. Anyone with tenure is reviewed by the NYC "Gotcha Squad", charged, and scheduled for a Hearing at which there is a disposition. This is a business, and the buyer is the City of New York.

Take Marcel Kshensky, for instance. He was Principal at the

school where George Lawson was a teacher. George sued Marcel for racial discrimination, and what does the NYC BOE do? Move Marcel to the Administrative Trials Unit (ATU) where he does Grievances. You can meet him any day at 51 Chambers Street in Manhattan, 6th floor.

Teachers Bring Suit Against Klein Over Rubber Rooms
By Roy Edroso in Featured, Legal, Schools
Tuesday, Dec. 1 2009 @ 10:19AM

Several schoolteachers are suing Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, claiming their confinement to "rubber rooms" -- holding facilities for teachers removed from duty, usually on disciplinary charges -- violates their rights.

They claim the Chancellor has no authority to charge or hold them, and that conditions in the rooms are unpleasant and dangerous.

Among the plaintiffs is David Pakter, who has portrayed himself as a whistleblower against the poor administration of city schools, and claims that because of his attempts to bring them to the city's attention, "Joel Klein, Esq.'s lapdogs, lackeys, sycophants and stooges, leaped out from under their countless dark and clammy rocks and went after me like a bat out of Hell" for bringing plants to his school, showing students the Robert Rodriguez film El Mariachi, and other trivialities.

David Pakter with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani at a 1997 City Hall ceremony where he was honored as a Teacher of the Year with his colleagues from other vocational schools. The mayor praised Pakter’s “outstanding achievement as a vocational school teacher in our city’s public schools, your work with parents and with the community, your solid and innovative teaching methods and your ability to create a stimulating learning environment.”

A former Teacher of the Year, Pakter has been in and out of rubber rooms for years.

Another plaintiff, Josefina Cruz, was one of no less than nine teachers (see below as well) sent to rubber rooms by Graphics Communications Arts HS principal Jerod Resnick.

Teachers have brought suit against the city on similar grounds before, and occasionally the press pays outraged attention, but the rubbers rooms persist; Mayor Bloomberg is against them, too, but on the grounds that the teachers thus charged and confined should not be paid.

Retaliation Against All Whistleblowers is the Name of the Illegal Game in New York City

David Pakter, a NYC Teacher and Whistleblower of the NYC Board of Education's Corrupt Practices, Sues in Federal Court

Raw experience into words
Under Assault
UPDATE 12/5/09:

On Tuesday, the Village Voice blog reported on the lawsuit some educators filed in federal court against the DoE's rubber room abuses. Pakter apparently sent in a comment, but I don't see it's been posted there yet. Maybe it will be, but for now it's in the sidebar of this blog.

At someone's request, Pakter gives a 3-part update to his case in the comments below and has now sent around some pictures of his famous plants — the subject of the latest charges brought against him by the DoE. Since I can't illustrate the comments, here is one of the offending plants.

The other one is also green, I guess.

I've posted Pakter before (feisty alliteration) and need to do it again, not only for the breadth of his commentary, but for his insight into the way this malevolent chancellorship distorts a profession and maims a generation of kids.

He wrote this to Norm Scott of Ednotes fame.

In New York City, Whistle-blower Teachers
— of Joel Klein's School System —
Get Blown Away

Dear Norm:

I read Ed Notes religiously, every day, as well as some of the other excellent Education websites, although nothing even comes close to your Ed Notes- may it go on till you are one hundred and perhaps for a few years after that.

All the present fuss over New York City Teachers reporting cheating truly amuses this old geezer writing to you. Not that the topic is not important.

Shocked- just shocked. You mean to say there are really car thieves and illegal Betting Parlors in every big City in America. Impossible - How can that be ??

So what else is new. Cheating went on in every school I ever taught in and at the High School where I taught for twenty five years, mark altering / "improving"/ "updating" - was raised to a virtual "art".

I wonder if Principals demand Kickbacks for all the gallons of "white-out" they order every June to ensure that their graduation totals will look even better and rosier than the previous year's stellar "improvement".

As for using a "Passing" Regents grade as an excuse to ignore a Failing Class Grade score- how the heck do you think they come up with those "regents scores".

At my former school, and I am sure many would not be surprised to learn, at 99 % of the NYC High Schools, all Regents Scores are referred to as a student's "Raw Regents Score". That is to say- the actual grade the student earned on the actual Regents Examination.

Then at my former school, the teachers were actually given printed "Regents Score Conversion Graphs" that indicated what to enter as the student's final official Regents grade in a particular subject- such as Earth Science for example.

If the student achieved a real grade of 43 for example- the teacher just ran his/her finger across the graph to find that this "raw" score was to be converted to a 65, for example. You can imagine what a "raw score" of 65, became in the final adjustment. "Harvard University - here we come".

When it comes to grades and grading, the entire 23 Billion dollar NYC DOE is one big scam from A to Z.

As for a Teacher going to "The Office of Special Investigations"- please - give me a break.

That office is the slickest shell game of all. Sure, they bust a small time independent electrical contractor from time to time just to make it look like they are really doing "Investigations".

But their real purpose for existing is to put out potential political fires before they even have a chance to become fires. I went to them with tons of stuff and got stone-walled every time. I know everyone down there by name. That office is a total crock.

I shall never forget the day, after I was most unceremoniously removed from my school (after I refused to surrender evidence in my possession of egregious Federal Civil Rights violations as well as financial fraud being perpetrated by the Principal and her cronies), when I received a very brief call on my cell phone.

I had just been removed and illegally transferred to a Rubber Room gulag in Brooklyn. The caller was one of several SCI "investigators", (most of them former or retired NYC Police Officers), assigned to look into the allegations I had reported to that agency on several different occasions.

His words were- and I recall them as though it were yesterday:

"Mr. Pakter, I am just calling you to inform you that I have been ordered to close the book on your case". The call was that short and simple.

But then again, you find this situation existing in the NYPD, the US Army, Mega Corporations, the US Post Office et al. It is the way of the world.

Anyone who seeks to have any type of wrongdoing investigated, quickly discovers that he or she soon becomes the prime object of "investigation".

It is, and has been the way of the world since the Dawn of Time- "Bad News- Then Kill the Messenger".

When I observe all those teacher "nubies" running down to SCI at 80 Maiden Lane in lower Manhattan, a stone's throw from Wall Street, to report horrendous and outrageous criminal activity in the NYC DOE, schools system, I never really know whether I should laugh or cry.

Any one who Whistle-blows in NYC, or most other places just doesn't understand that he or she has just signed and Notarized their own "Death Warrant".

As for going to the Newspapers- "paleeeeeze"- give me a break. Who do you think owns and controls the news media- and I mean 99 % to all of it ???

But every year, as sure as Day follows Night, some young group of idealistic Teachers, God Bless their innocent and naive beautiful Souls, goes running all over the Universe- here, there and everywhere, crying "the sky is falling".

You bet it is, right down squarely on their soon to be chopped off innocent heads.

We old timers smile and just send out our warmest telepathic messages of Love to all the Teacher Whistle-blowers in Gotham and wish them our deepest and most sincere hopes for Good Luck and that they may emerge at the far end of the SCI gauntlet with a little of their tattered skin still hanging from their bloodied backs and torn and broken bodies.

Can an old Geezer like me fault these young idealistic Teachers for all their efforts to make the system better for all the powerless and vulnerable children in NYC- most of whom are already "at Risk", from the moment when they first emerge from their Mother's womb and cry their very first cry.

Who am I to fault and be the least bit cynical that someone wants to protect Gotham's children. When I stare at the face of a NYC Teacher "Nubie'", all pink cheeked and eyes shining, hurrying through the ever-revolving glass doors at 52 Broadway, knapsack heavy with text books hanging over their shoulders, who, my old friend, am I really looking at, but the perfect reflection of who I myself was, almost 40 years ago, starting out in the world of Education in New York City.

I thought back then, as a young Teacher, in the South East Bronx and later, working in Bed-Stuy and Harlem and finally via my self created Medical Program for gifted Minority students at Art & Design High School, that I could, by sheer dint of hard work and a driving Idealistic vision of the Universe make a difference.

That somehow "Good" would triumph over "Evil", honest "Idealism" would or could vanquish rampant corruption, and that somehow, by hook or by crook- I would make a "Difference"- even if just a small degree of difference.

Tell me dear God, I did make a difference.

Tell me my old and dear friend, Norman Scott, that it was not all for nothing.

And that those young Teachers presently fighting the good fight we both began to fight also, in our long distant Youth, so many decades ago, long before the present Whistle-blowers were so much as a glint in their Mother's and Father's eyes- oh please do tell me that they will succeed where we failed to make things better.

Hey Jude- please tell me that things can and will be better and that some good and healing force in the Universe- call it what you will, can and will wash away all those twisted and demented minds and sorry excuses for human beings, who for now at least, have temporarily hijacked the futures of all of Gotham's innocent children and are Hell bent on privatizing all Education in Gotham and turning it all into one gargantuan, multi-billion dollar, For Profit, enterprise.

In some cases trading their future lives and future hopes for a bag of Silver coins.

And I still see, when I lay me down to sleep each night all the laughing, beautiful faces and shining innocent eyes of my former gifted, so very gifted and talented, Medical students in Room 316, so radiant with great expectations and so deserving of Hope, that this present Chancellor, a pathetic "Legend in his own mind", via his countless lackeys, lapdogs and stooges and confederates, criminally robbed from their futures when I, as payment for becoming a Whistle-blower myself, was so violently torn from their school and so violently torn from their Lives.

David Pakter, former Teacher of the Year, STILL STANDING

Union hits DOE with age discrimination charge
by Jim Callaghan, Feb 16, 2006 11:30 AM

Despite having suffered a hernia and a knee injury, 64-year-old Madelyn Dimitracopoulos of Flushing HS was given four different classrooms in one year as apparent retribution for filing a grievance

The UFT has filed an age discrimination complaint against the Department of Education and accused it of condoning illegal acts in forcing teachers to retire. The complaint charges that school administrators are using fear and intimidation to drive experienced, qualified teachers out of the classroom.

Filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the complaint states that the DOE has “knowingly permitted school administrators to employ a practice of discrimination that took the form of unjust and unfounded criticism, abuse of the observation process and blatant disregard of seniority in making classroom assignments,” all designed to harass and intimidate senior teachers.

UFT President Randi Weingarten said that the problem escalated under Chancellor Klein, whose administration had exhibited “a disdain for experience.” She said that during the 2002-03 school year, for example, 90.5 percent of teachers facing dismissal and loss of license charges were over the age of 40 while only 63.4 percent of all tenured teachers were 40 and over.

In nearly every case intil Chancellor Klein’s stewardship, the senior teachers had exemplary records of satisfactory ratings. Many teachers had 20 to 30 years of unblemished records. The complaint said these veteran teachers were victims of abusive principals who often made disparaging remarks about them being stuck in the past, or about these members relying on “old” methods of teaching or not being able to stand up all day.

One principal, Jerod Resnick of Graphic Arts HS in Manhattan, said his school needed “young, energetic teachers.” He drove out nearly every senior teacher, forcing transfers for some and retirement for others.

The complaint was accompanied by statistics (see box) showing that a preponderance of unsatisfactory ratings were given to senior teachers, far above what the average would be if it was nothing more than a statistical coincidence.

The harassment was not limited to a paper trail of unsatisfactory ratings. In one particularly egregious case, Madelyn Dimitracopoulos, 64, who despite having suffered a hernia was given four different classrooms in one year as apparent retribution for filing a grievance.

Dimitracopoulos, who started teaching at Flushing HS in 1962, was also having trouble carrying a full set of books from room to room. The complaint specifies that English Department chair Celeste Burton was also aware that the teacher had torn her meniscus ligament and had to leave school in a wheelchair. Despite that, Burton yelled at teachers and a student not to help the teacher, who was struggling in lifting her books.

“I will not be driven out of this school,” Dimitracopoulos said. “I love my kids and they are doing well,” she added, pointing to a 77 percent passing rate for her Regents class. The lengths to which Burton has gone to force Dimitracopoulos to resign are not your garden-variety harassment tricks. The veteran teacher said that she has been followed into the bathroom, where Burton screamed at her about a minor issue of adjusting marks. She said Burton has also come into her Regents review class unannounced and rummaged through closets, allegedly looking for books. Until last year, Dimitracopoulos had received Satisfactory ratings every year since 1962.

Things weren’t much better for Edmond Farrell at John Adams HS. He, too, was subjected to abuse, after 13 years in the building.

Farrell, 67, said he first got on Principal Grace Zwillenberg’s list when he crossed swords with her over the need for portable classrooms at the school. “Ever since then,” he said, “she has been making disparaging remarks about me, even though I have been honored for my work.” The scores of students in his math classes, he said, improved by the equivalent of two full years. Before teaching, Farrell was in the business world. “I got a great deal of satisfaction — a thrill, really — to see failing math students show their parents a certificate with an 80 instead of a 60,” he said. Farrell also offered to transfer out of the school, but was rebuffed by Zwillenberg.

In an accompanying affidavit to the EEOC complaint, Weingarten provided a list of examples that sounds like a “how to harass senior teachers” horror show. The examples seemed to fall into a pattern, almost as if administrators were being taught in a seminar “how to get rid of qualified, experienced teachers,” including trumped-up charges of corporal punishment and insubordination.

Perhaps the most invidious cases are occurring at Graphic Arts, where the principal’s discriminatory actions roped in 19 teachers over the age of 40 who were subjected to discriminatory treatment.

In one case, an assistant principal at the school, Eric Brand, told English teacher Midge Maroni that she had old ideas, that “the kids won’t go for Macbeth.”

Maroni also said that Resnick spoke adoringly of younger teachers in his newsletter. “The education spirits have smiled on us,” Resnick wrote in October 2005. “A new, younger teacher has joined our staff.” Maroni said she has never observed Resnick make similar remarks about older, experienced teachers. Resnick also claims that Brand, on at least 30 occasions, subjected her to “repeated, unannounced observations of short duration, for the purported purpose of evaluating my pedagogical skills.”

The harassment went beyond the usual measures employed by principals to get teachers to retire. At Brandeis HS, the principal, Eloise Messianeo, told Joy Hochstadt, 66, that a teacher “who can’t stand up the entire day should retire.”

Linda Kuznesoff-Herman, 57, was told by Jonathan Straughn, the principal at PS 276 in Brooklyn, that she would not be rehired as literacy coach because he needed “new blood” in the school. Straughn accused her of being at the stage where teachers become “battle weary.” Kuznesoff-Herman was rejected for the position despite her 25 years’ experience, which included four years as a literacy staff developer and two years as a literacy coach. The position was given to a younger teacher who had no prior experience teaching gifted students, but, incidentally, was one whom Kuznesoff-Herman had trained.

Another teacher, faced with students who would rather fight than learn, was told by Ivan Kushner, the principal at PS 19 in Manhattan, that “the classroom setup (Standards-Based Classroom) supports positive pupil interactions.” Apparently, the students didn’t read this tome, because they continued fighting in class. Kushner then proposed a “reward system” to improve student behavior. The fights continued, so Kushner resorted to another claim from the administrator’s bag of tricks: It must be the teacher’s fault. She “lacked classroom management skills.” From 1972 through 2003, however, the teacher had received only satisfactory ratings.

Age bias?

At PS 721 in Queens, the principal’s desire to rid the school of undesirable geezer teachers even affected the students. Not content with giving teacher Sidney Rubinfeld the cold shoulder by refusing to speak to him and even witholding classroom keys, the principal, Madeline Hassell, stood by like the Sphinx and watched Rubinfeld try to restrain a student who was acting out. In similar situations involving younger teachers and disruptive students, the principal intervened. Rubinfeld was told by Hassell that his years of seniority were “dead years.”

The EEOC is investigating the charges. If the agency decides that there is merit to the complaints, it can become an advocate for the teachers and can file a lawsuit on their behalf. If the EEOC fails to find merit, the teachers can sue on their own in federal court.

* 85.3 percent of the 143 UFT members brought up on 3020a charges during the last school year were over 40.
* 90 percent of pedagogues hit with 3020a disciplinary charges during the 2003-04 school year were over the age of 40.
* 3 90.5 percent of the 126 members brought up on 3020a charges during the 2002-03 school year were over 40.
* 78 percent of the 729 educators who received
unsatisfactory annual performance ratings for the last school year were over 40.
* 63.4 percent of tenured members are over 40.


Back in 2005 forty-five teachers filed a complaint with the EEOC that the DOE had discriminated against them because they were over 40 years old. The Daily News reported the filing and Randi Weingarten announced at the time that "88% of teachers brought up on disciplinary charges in the last three years were over 40."

A lawsuit involving 12 of the teachers, filed in 2006, is finally coming to trial. While some of the claims have been dismissed on technical grounds the 12 teachers have won significant gains.

In Shapiro v. NYC DOE, 06 Civ. 1836, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 46327, Judge Jed Rakoff found that during the 2004-2005 school year, five teachers were transferred from Graphic Communication Arts and reassigned to another school. All were over age forty. In June 2005, sixteen teachers at GCA were given unsatisfactory ratings ("U ratings") for the year. Of the 16, thirteen were over the age of 40. A year later, in June 2006, eight teachers received U ratings, only one of whom was under age forty.

One of the teachers given a U rating in 2005 was plaintiff Diana Friedline, who was 53 years old at the time. Friedline has a New York State teaching license in commercial art and a New York City teaching license in cold type composition. She had been a full time teacher since 1989. In the Spring of 2005, Friedline applied for a curriculum writing position at GCA. The principal told Friedline that Friedline was not eligible for the position because she was certified with the wrong license. Friedline filed a grievance objecting to her non-selection for the position, which was denied. Friedline also applied to have a substitute vocational assistant student teacher placed in her classroom; but this application was also denied. When Friedline complained to the principal that these actions were prompted by age discrimination, he told her that he preferred to hire younger candidates. In June 2005, Friedline was giving a U rating for the year.

One of the teachers given a U rating in both years was plaintiff Josefina Cruz, who was 58 years old in June 2005. She has been a teacher of Spanish at GCA since 2003. In the Spring of 2005, she received 24 classroom visits in a two-month period, which she testified was well above the norm. Her schedule was changed seven times in two weeks. She was then given a U rating for the year. In January, 2006, Cruz failed to administer the oral portion of the Spanish regents exam because she had not been given exam materials, which were kept in a vault to which she had no access. She was then given a U rating for the 2005 year, served with disciplinary charges, and reassigned to the Manhattan rubber room.

Another teacher who was given a U rating in 2005 was plaintiff Anthony Ferraro, who was then 72 years old. He began teaching at GCA in 1985. In May, 2003, the principal requested that teachers planning to retire contact him to let him know of their plans. Ferraro contacted the principal but then changed his mind and decided not to retire. When Ferraro told the principal of his change in plans, the principal asked Ferraro's age and then expressed "extreme dismay" that Ferraro was planning to say on at the school In December, 2004, Assistant Principal Johnson repeatedly chided Ferraro for continuing to work and reminded Ferraro that Ferraro could be doing other things with his life, such as spending time with his wife and traveling. Similarly, Assistant Principal Seyfried told Ferrarro that he did not understand why Ferraro was still working and that Ferraro should have retired long ago. In June, 2003, the principal told Ferraro that Ferraro was doing a "deplorable job" coordinating the "LEARN" program, a work-study program through which Ferraro coordinated employment opportunities for GCA students in their chosen fields of study. The principal also told Ferraro that his teaching style was "outmoded" and "outdated."

In September, 2003, Ferraro was removed from his position as LEARN coordinator, but a year later he was reassigned to the position but given less time to perform the necessary work. In January 2005, Ferraro was removed from the position once again and replaced by a younger teacher who was not properly licensed to act as coordinator. Also, in September 2004, Ferraro, a licensed peer mentor, applied to serve as a mentor to new teachers, but the position was given to someone 20 years his junior who was not a certified mentor. Finally, on June 13, 2005, the principal told Ferraro his teaching style was "antiquated" and then days later, Ferraro received a U rating for the year.

Another plaintiff is Diana Hrisinko, who is currently 64 years old. She began teaching at GCA in 2002. Beginning in the fall of 2004, Resnick would come into her classroom unannounced, sometimes as often as five times per week. On February 1, 2005, Hrisinko was transferred from GCA and thereafter worked briefly as a substitute teacher before assuming a position at another school. She filed a grievance claiming that her transfer was illegal because younger teachers with less seniority remained in their positions at GCA.

Plaintiff Elaine Jackson is currently 69 years old and was the Assistant Principal for the English Department at GCA for one semester in the fall of 2003. During her one semester as Assistant Principal, Jackson increased the passing ratio of the English Regents exam. At no time did the principal tell her that he was dissatisfied with her performance. Nonetheless, she was fired in January 2005 and replaced with a younger male who lacked relevant experience for the position.

Plaintiff Midge Maroni, currently 61 years old, began teaching at GCA in 2002. She testified that in early 2003 she was "subjected to ageist comments and unjust criticism" as "Resnick [the principal] repeatedly made references to his desire to have a staff of young teachers." Resnick also said things such as "you don't take your profession seriously, you have old ideas." Maroni was subjected to frequent short, unannounced visits to her classroom from Assistant Principal Brand. During 2005, while Maroni was acting as advisor for the school newspaper, she complained to Resnick that her students lacked access to computers to produce the paper; the next year, a younger teacher received a computer to use for this purpose. In June, 2005, Maroni received a U rating for the year. The U was later dismissed in an arbitration proceeding.

Plaintiff Geraldine F. Whittington, currently 61 years old, began teaching at GCA in 1986. She has a state teaching license in Graphic Arts. Whittington testified that, beginning in 2004, Resnick criticized her for taking sick time to which she was entitled, threatened her with a U rating and treated her with hostility, refusing to address her or make eye contact. When Resnick visited her classroom, he glared at her in an obtrusive and hostile manner. In the spring of 2004, the computers and scanners in Whittington's classroom broke. Whittington heard that new computer equipment was given to younger teachers rather than to her (despite her seniority). Whittington retired effective July 1, 2004.

Plaintiff Fitzroy Kington, currently 58 years old, began teaching at GCA in 1992. During 2004-2005, Resnick repeatedly stood outside of Kington's classroom and shook his head disapprovingly. Assistant Principal Guttman told Kington that Resnick wanted younger, more energetic teachers on staff, and asked when Kington was leaving (even though Kington had not indicated that he had any plan to leave the school). During a social studies exhibition, Kington heard Resnick refer to "old, burnt out, tired teachers" who gave children detention and told them they were no good. In May 2005, Kington applied to transfer to another school.

Plaintiff Gloria Chavez, currently 59 years old, began teaching at GCA in 2002. During the 2004-2005 school year, Resnick began a pattern of yelling at Chavez and threatening disciplinary action against her. He also told her that she looked "tired," should start drinking caffeinated coffee and should modernize her teaching style. In 2006, Chavez did not administer the oral portion of the Spanish regents exam because she was never given the required materials by Assistant Principal Silverman Chavez was then served with disciplinary charges, given a U rating, and reassigned to the Manhattan Regional Operation Center.

Plaintiff Erica Weingast, currently 60 years old, became GCA's bilingual coordinator in 2001. In 2003-2004, Weingast was removed from an after-school assignment teaching English, and the position was given to a teacher who was 30 years younger than Weingast. Between 2003 and 2005, Weingast was "subjected to a campaign of harassment which entailed unwarranted criticisms of her management of [the] bi-lingual studies program." In June, 2004, Resnick began to scream at her in public and humiliate her at school. In June 2005, defendants told her to expect a U rating or resign; Weingast resigned.

Plaintiff Ismael Diaz, currently 64 years old, began teaching at GCA in 2003. During the fall of 2004, Silverman was "constantly" coming into Diaz's classroom, commenting on trivial matters and asking Diaz to attend to a bulletin board in the hallway. She also checked his lessons plans more than once a week. In May 2004, Resnick and Silverman observed one of Diaz's lessons and rated it "unsatisfactory". Resnick refused to speak to Diaz when Diaz said "Good Morning" in the halls. Diaz was given a U rating at the end of the 2004-2005 school year and decided to retire.

In order to prove an Age Discrimination in Employment Act case the teachers are required to show that they suffered an "adverse employment action." This has been defined as suffering a materially adverse change in the terms of employment. A teacher is not required to show a change in income or reduction of benefits. Thus teachers reassigned to the rubber room or receiving a "U" rating can show adverse employment actions, something the City has fought hard to prevent.

Judge Rakoff found that both "U" ratings and rubber room transfers can, if shown in the context of an Age Discrimination claim, be grounds for recovery.

The plaintiffs will have their day in Court to prove their claims before a jury in Manhattan Federal Court.
Posted by Jeff Kaufman at 7/13/2008 10:41:00 AM

Last Updated: 5:00 AM, October 28, 2007

The principal of a Midtown vocational high school is being accused of harassing and unfairly punishing teachers he doesn't like - including the school's entire Spanish department.

Since his arrival at Graphics Communications Arts HS in 2003, principal Jerod Resnick has sent nine teachers to a so-called "rubber room," a holding pen for teachers waiting to face disciplinary charges. In his first year, 17 teachers received an unsatisfactory rating.

Several teachers described Resnick as a "bully" who goes after employees - particularly older, disabled or minority teachers - by issuing bad ratings or bringing false disciplinary charges.

Two lawsuits have been brought against him and the Department of Education in federal court; a third is expected.

"If he doesn't like you, he will target you," charged Spanish teacher Gloria Chavez, who was pulled from the classroom last year. "I've been teaching 16 years, I've never gotten a bad rating. Not one. Now all of a sudden I'm in trouble."

Teachers concede the school had discipline problems when Resnick arrived, and understand his desire to get tough - just not at their expense.

"His way to fix the problems is to harass the teachers and blame us," said Josefina Cruz, a Spanish teacher who said most of the instructors targeted are minorities, even though the student body is 95 percent Hispanic and black. "We're not the problem."

Resnick did not return messages seeking comment.

1 comment:







Many Reporters have written about the so-called Rubber Rooms in New York City to which Faux Chancellor Joel Klein, Esq.'s Board of Education illegally banishes and "disappears" any NYC Teacher who they deem a "persona non grata"

While credit for keeping this issue before the public's consciousness is deserved by many, including Norm Scott of EdNotes, "Under Assault", Education expert/author, Karen Horwitz in Chicago, "South Bronx Teacher" and so many others, too numerous to mention- Betsy Combier has carved out a nitch all her own.

Ms. Combier not only writes relentlessly about all the injustices in the NYC Schools System, but her knowledge of the Rubber Rooms, in particular, is based on her getting up close and personal with the horrors visited on the victims sent there.

Betsy has been in all the Rubber Rooms, not as a detainee herself, but as an Advocate for the Teachers incarcerated in these abominations, on a daily basis.

Betsy, who takes her fiduciary responsibility to research her facts seriously, has met with countless hundreds of Rubber Room Teacher victims.

She knows who has been condemned to the Rubber Rooms for the crime of being a Whistle-blower, or the crime of allegedly being too "old"
or the crime of having a position that "someone else" wanted for him/herself.

There are as many reasons why people are condemned to the Rubber Rooms as there are Teachers inhabiting those bizarre places that defy any type of rationality for existing in a civilized society.

Ms. Combier has done much to try to expose the corruption, criminality, and vicious injustices that exist in the NYC Public Schools system- which her own four Daughters attended for years.

Five years ago Betsy Combier was the very first NYC Reporter to take up my cause, which is really the cause of all people everywhere.

That is to say, to live their lives in dignity and to be able to follow their chosen career without having to worry about being victimized or retaliated against for speaking up and speaking out if they see something that is wrong and hurtful to themselves or others.

It is thanks to people like Betsy Combier, who has assisted, helped and defended so many New Yorkers when no one else would, that a monumental debt is owed that can never be adequately repaid.

Fortunately, for Ms. Combier, her greatest sense of remuneration is knowing that she is doing what we are all put here on Earth to do, in short to improve other people's lives.

So carry on all your great work and great Reporting Ms. Combier. You have much to be proud of and all we New Yorkers are more than Proud of you.

David Pakter State 3020-a Teacher Trial continues Dec 10 and 11, Thursday and Friday at 10 AM,
49 Chambers Street, lower Manhattan

Please request Hearing Room of the Hon. Douglas J. Bantle, Esq.
Mention Prosecutor Phil Oliveri Esq
& Defense lawyer Chris Callagy Esq.