Teaching "Living Environment" (or "Health" or "Reproduction") is a very dangerous assignment for a male teacher working in a NYC High School. At any moment, a student, male or female can report to the principal that a comment was made which made him/her "uncomfortable", and boom the "investigators" from OEO, OSI, or SCI are called in. In my opinion, the only work these "agents" do is to create a frame-up of the employee who is the current target of the administration.
The "investigation" always takes the following form: the investigator goes to the school after the principal calls in/emails in to intake an "incident". These "investigators" go to the principal's office, where they ask the principal, "what do you want us to prove". The principal tells them who is the target, and gives the previously prepared statements to the visitors, who take these and may or may not interview the kids who had something bad to say about the teacher/employee. No other students/faculty are interviewed. Then the investigators leave. They go back to the main office with their "notes", which are given to another person who writes the decision.
How fair is this?
Rigal Baptiste was put into this Catch-22 position, assigned to teach Living Environment at Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn. He couldn't, wouldn't, didn't, see the danger he could be in, and loved his job. He was good at it, too, for 18 years (all "S" ratings).
But kids of all ages are given the power and authority, by the Department of Education, to lie about teachers and get them removed from their positions, for any and all reasons. This type of activity is called "mobbing" and it occurs in almost every case brought to 3020-a: some child/young adult may not like a teacher, goes with a close friend to the principal (who needs to remove the teacher with tenure and high salary), and says "blah blah blah....(the teacher hit me, touched me, made me uncomfortable, looked at me the wrong way, etc.). The principal runs to the computer, files a report with OSI, OEO or SCI, and the ball starts to fall.
Rigal was not fortunate at 3020-a to have a NYSUT attorney, and Lisa Brogan as his Arbitrator. NYSUT just does not defend their clients strongly enough, but I like Antonio Cavallero, the NYSUT attorney in this case, very much as a person. Rigal testified, as all people charged with 3020-a must, but did not bring in any witnesses to testify on his behalf. This was, in my opinion, a mistake, not as horrible as what Maria Elena Gonzalez Lichten did in the case of Eric Fuller, but still just as disastrous in terms of the result.
A lack of a good defense in front of Lisa Brogan may not have helped, because she was, again in my opinion, hired to fire. She had termination on her mind as the penalty the minute Rigal walked in the door. I have many decisions made by her, and one, in particular annoys me very much. She terminated a bilingual guidance counselor, J.R., for not submitting excellent lesson plans when he was asked to do so by the principal, who wanted him removed because he - the principal - felt that the guidance counselor would reveal that Federal Law was not being followed in the cases of kids in his school with IEPs. The principal, Bennett Lieberman, had a memo he had written published by the Daily News. Anyway, Brogan fired the Guidance Counselor for not writing lesson plans despite the fact that the GC testified he never wrote or learned how to write lesson plans, and these were not required in his work.
Brogan had some shocking comments in her decision to terminate Rigal, who had never been brought to 3020-a, and even if he had made some off-color comments, which he apologized for, and asked to be forgiven as there was no intent to harass or abuse any student, should have been given a small penalty as part of the mandate called "progressive discipline". Brogan wrote:
"Her classmate J.D. perceived her discomfort in S.M.'s body language as he observed it in response to Respondent's comments and actions" (p.21)
"He claims he was only asking her to return to her regular seat, but A.Z. credibly asserted that this was not the case, and if that were the case, then surely it would have been much simpler to assert that he wanted her in her usual seat, rather than fail to explain why he wanted her to move." (p. 26).
Brogan also made an outrageous claim after viewing a video of sexual harassment that "...the intent of the actor is not relevant, but rather, it is the impact on the offended person that determines whether certain conduct is sexual harassment, and it instructs that a reasonable person standard is considered in that regard." (decision, p. 46).
The Department, in order to win their case against Rigal, brought in only those students who would support the "sexual harassment" allegation. Brogan wrote in her decision:
"And all the accusing witnesses expressed their discomfort at the hearing, proving that the impact of Respondent's (Rigal's) actions was to cause offense." (p. 47)
That's a very bizarre way to find "proof" of intent, I think.
So, all students and employees who want to get rid of someone you dont like, sign up for those acting classes now, so that you can cry on cue when September rolls around.
Teacher's crude comments to students leave him jobless
Brooklyn teacher, Rigal Baptiste, canned from Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School after making crude sexual comments to two of his students.Comments (22)
WEDNESDAY, JULY 24, 2013, 10:29 PM
|Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn Let Baptiste go after making crude comments to two female students.|
A Brooklyn teacher was canned for acting creepy and making crude jokes about pregnancy to girls in health class.
Rigal Baptiste, 46, of Queens, was fired from Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in April after investigators found he sexually harassed two female students.
The girls told investigators that the tenured teacher sexually harassed them with raunchy remarks between October 2011 and June 2012.
One of the female students claimed Baptiste, who’s been teaching 18-years, quizzed her on reproduction in class - and when she didn’t have the answers, he said, “Don’t worry your husband will show you.”
Another girl told investigators that Baptiste discussed pregnancy with her during his lessons and said, “You’ll be screaming when the little guy comes out.”
Baptiste sued to get his $86,590 job back in May, citing his lengthy service. He claimed, in court papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, that he was targeted by an Education Department “Gotcha Squad.”
An advocate who spoke on Baptiste’s behalf told the News that she didn’t believe the veteran teacher harassed his students.
“It’s a set-up,” said Betsy Combier, a paralegal who runs the education blog NYC Rubber Room Reporter. “In the current environment, anyone can be convicted of anything.”
City lawyers have asked a judge to dismiss Baptiste’s suit.
“A neutral arbitrator weighed the evidence in this case and found that serious incidents of misconduct had occurred,” said Employment Law Division chief Eric Eichenholtz.