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Friday, October 11, 2013

Shame On You, Campbell Brown

Paul Zonderman
I am so saddened by Ms. Campbell Brown's lack of integrity as a journalist, clearly shown by the lack of facts in her article below. First, several Arbitrators mentioned, Howard Edelman and Paul Zonderman, are no longer on the UFT-DOE rotating Panel, and have not been actively involved in the 3020-a process in NYC for several years. She says that Howard Edelman is not well known. Now, that's a false statement right there. Howard is a very well known arbitrator, inside NYC and throughout the State. Paul is, as well. It is shocking that Ms. Brown bought into the DOE's shpeel (?spelling?) of how "bad" they were while on the panel, while both had their share of terminations but couldnt stand the mess of process (this comes from a source). Didnt you at least go to Google for information, Ms. Campbell?

The problem Ms. Brown has, is she did not look at cases, but simply passed on the public relations general statement that all arbitrators are not doing their jobs, namely terminating "bad" teachers and especially those who sexually abuse students.

This is where Ms. Brown fails. Sure, some arbitrators are hired to fire - like Eleanor Elovich Glanstein and her sidekicks Nancy Ryan and NYSUT Attorney Steve Friedman (Eleanor Glanstein is now no longer on the panel); Lana Flame, now no longer on the panel - and others who I will be writing about soon. But if an arbitrator shows bias and decides to take allegations of sexual abuse and make these allegations of touching, kissing, etc. into "facts" without any supporting proof, then they can, and hopefully will, be brought to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee and shown the door. This may be the reason Ms. Glanstein is no longer on the panel, as I personally know three former victims who had her at their 3020-a and filed complaints against her.

As for Arbitrator John Woods, of NS&J in Maryland, and his partner in crime ATU Attorney Michael Francis, I have never, in my 12 years of participating in 3020-a hearings, seen two people who insult, belittle and verbally abuse witnesses and people who oppose them as much as these two. I will write further about a case that Woods just decided, in the near future.

The contact information for Hearing Officer Woods is:
John Woods, Esq.
NS&J Advisory Group
5430 Lynx Lane, Suite 217
Columbia, MD 21044
Email: JWoods@nsandLcom
Tel: 202-421-1881

The attorney for the Department is Michael Francis. Mr. Francis may be reached at :
Administrative Trials Unit
NYC Department ofEducation
49-51 Chambers Street, Room 604
New York, New York 10007
Tel: (212) 374-2498
Fax: (212) 374-1074

Dont let the bio below sway you, John Woods is not a neutral, and in my opinion, should leave arbitration, negotiation and mediation to other people. Also in my opinion, Attorney Michael Francis should be let go. He threatens and retaliates against anyone he believes is impeding him in any way.He needs anger management big time. Threatening witnesses whose testimony he doesn't like is not proper, and makes the ATU look bad.

About the Ombuds

John L. Woods, Jr.

John L. Woods, Jr. is an experienced Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practitioner in the areas of labor, employment, business, and securities. Prior to joining Ramapo College, John served as the Chief Mediator and head of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Division for a United States Federal Government Agency. He also served as a Supervisory Federal Investigator during his tenure with the U.S. Federal Government. John currently serves as a mediator, arbitrator, and/or conciliator for the U.S. Federal Government, the State of Maryland, the Better Business Bureau, the New York Stock Exchange, the National Association of Securities Dealers, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce, and the International Chamber of Commerce.
John’s International ADR experience includes providing training and consulting services in Jamaica (W.I.), Trinidad and Tobago (W.I.), the Western Sahara, Morocco, and Spain. He is currently an adjunct professor and frequently writes and speaks on issues concerning labor, employment, organizational development, conflict management and dispute resolution.
John received a Bachelors Degree from the State University of New York at Albany, a Masters Degree from New York University, and a Juris Doctorate Degree from Howard University School of Law.

So, what Campbell Brown is urging the public to advocate for is the Department of Education's edict: an allegation must be considered a "fact" if brought to 3020-a by a Principal, AP, or someone hired by the DOE to fire somebody..

Then, it is the job of the Respondent's legal representative(s) to prove the Respondent innocent. Yes, you got that right. The way that the UFT and DOE panel is set up, a teacher or employee brought to 3020-a is guilty when he or she enters the door. The process allows this person to fight this by proving that he or she is innocent, but if the fight is not 100%, the person remains guilty, and gets punished for his or her "crime", according to the specifications.

By the way, most people know that any person who is brought to 3020-a can have anyone represent him or her, and can hire a non-attorney to assist him/her, or do the job by him/herself. At 3020-a you do not have to use an attorney.

Ms. Campbell wants the fight against the allegations to be non-existant, and have anyone brought to 3020-a remain guilty of the allegations/facts as charged. Then, there is no sense in hiring arbitrators and paying $1400/day, so just do away with 3020-a hearings and fire anyone accused of anything, the minute an "investigator" substantiates the charge. The end of tenure rights.

Shame on you, Campbell Brown!

Betsy Combier

Law Department Directory

Arbitrators protect pervert teachers
by Campbell Brown
Howard Edelman isn’t well known in the education community. He should be: He has unilateral authority to change how the city Department of Education spends millions of 
Edelman is an arbitrator. When DOE moves to terminate a teacher for misconduct or incompetence, he decides whether the teacher stays or goes. And, if it’s “stay,” what the penalty should be.
Like his fellow arbitrators, Edelman’s judgment is final. (The city can appeal in court, but judges are loath to overturn arbitration decisions.)
And, like too many other arbitrators, Edelman makes it a priority to find ways to keep teachers in classrooms, with little apparent consideration of the impact on schools or students.
This is most evident, and troubling, in sexual misconduct cases.
In a breakthrough 2005 agreement, the union and DOE inserted language into the teachers contract stipulating “a mandatory penalty of discharge” to any union member “found by a hearing officer to have engaged in sexual misconduct.”
The contract defined sexual misconduct as including: “sexual touching, serious or repeated verbal abuse (as defined in Chancellor’s Regulations) of a sexual nature, action that could reasonably be interpreted as soliciting a sexual relationship, possession or use of illegal child pornography” as well as action that constitutes criminal conduct.
Union leaders often call this a “zero tolerance” policy. Problem is, Howard Edelman and his colleagues won’t enforce it. They repeatedly find that some sexual conduct by teachers is permissible.
In 2008, Edelman found that a teacher who rubbed the back and neck of a student in an empty classroom while speaking in threatening sexual innuendo — “I can make you do things you don’t want to do” — should get a mere two-month fine. The teacher had twice before been cited for improper touching.
Edelman’s terse rationale: “A teacher rubbed a student’s back. He did not have sex with the student or ask the student to have sex with him.”
In 2010, Edelman found that another serial abuser should be returned to the classroom after touching the bare shoulders and neck of a student while telling her she could strip for him.
The teacher “was not really soliciting sex from but was engaging in sexual banter,” with the student, he found — even though there is no precedent or protection in the contract for “sexual banter.”
He also found a way to forgive the use of child porn, calling a teacher’s secret agreement to be sent nude photos of a student “a lapse in judgment . . . [that] does not justify upholding his termination, I am convinced.” The contract explicitly says otherwise.
Yet Edelman is no anomaly. Many other arbitrators normalize sexual behavior or invent standards to arrive at decisions that flout zero tolerance.
Paul Zonderman has leniently arbitrated many misconduct cases. In one, he found that a special-education teacher touched boys so often that his actions “at worst, suggest pedophilia.” Yet Zonderman ordered nothing more than a reprimand.
Eric Lawson found that a Manhattan 6th-grade teacher repeatedly hugged female students, touched a student’s breast and leg and made sexually suggestive remarks to several students. He described the teacher as “unrepentant, claiming to be a victim” and said he didn’t deserve to keep his job “as long as he insists upon his innocence.”
Yet Lawson sent him back to the classroom anyway, ordering a six-month suspension and mandatory therapy.
In a distasteful recent case, a Bronx high-school teacher repeatedly called a large-breasted student “watermelon girl” and told her, if he felt she was dressed inappropriately, to “put your melons away” and “cover up your melons.” He called other female students “Wonder Woman,” “Chocolate Girl,” and “Dark Chocolate,” purportedly to encourage them. There is no evidence that he used nicknames to encourage male students.
The arbitrator, John Woods, said the teacher’s “unwelcome communication of a sexual nature is prohibited. However, termination is not the appropriate penalty in this case.” In fact, prohibited sexual communications require termination under the contract. Yet Woods ordered a penalty of just a week without pay.
With these and other arbitrators minimizing the sexual behavior of accused teachers with their students, the DOE has had little success in terminating teachers accused of violating the 2005 provision. Only about a quarter of those for whom probable cause of sexual misconduct has been found have lost their jobs.
In the other cases, an arbitrator has sided with a serial molester over the isolated, terrified child he threatens. And with a profane, sexualizing bully over the child he singles out as “watermelon girl.”
The union needs to stop claiming there’s a zero-tolerance policy for teacher sexual abuse. The arbitrators disagree.
Campbell Brown is the founder of the Parents Transparency Project and a former anchor for NBC and CNN.


Francesco Portelos said...

I feel as though Campbell Brown is trying really, really hard to bake a cake. Unfortunately, she is missing some key ingredients.

I'm a father and educator in an active 3020-a hearing on ridiculous allegations o related to technology use. Make no mistake. I do not want anyone that has our can hurt children near students. However, this process is a lot more complex than that. Ms. Brown is painting hundreds, if not thousands, if educators with one very wide brush.

Anonymous said...

Awaiting your write up on Lana Flame. She has hurt too many good people not to be exposed for what she is. Thank you.