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.
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
They claim the Chancellor has no authority to
charge or hold them, and that conditions in the rooms are unpleasant and
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.
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.
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
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.
SMALL ADDITION TO THIS POST:
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
The other one is also green, I guess.
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
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
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
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
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".
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.”
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.
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
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.
GRAPHIC COMMUNICATION ARTS HS TEACHERS SUING FOR AGE DISCRIMINATION WILL FINALLY GET THEIR DAY IN COURT
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
BULLY HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL 'PENS' 9 TEACHERS
By ANGELA MONTEFINISE, NY POST
Last Updated: 5:00 AM, October 28, 2007
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.
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.
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.
BRAVO TO REPORTER BETSY COMBIER FOR
KEEPING RUBBER ROOM ISSUE ON FRONT
PAGE AND INFORMING THE PUBLIC OF
THESE ILLEGAL DOE ABOMINATIONS
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.