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Sunday, April 13, 2014

In NYC, Criticizing The Department of Education or Making the DOE look "Bad" in Any Way is a Crime

Any parent, child, teacher or administrator who says the DOE stinks, gets punished. If you are a child, and you dispute what a principal says or refuse to write a statement condemning your favorite teacher to a rubber room, you will be threatened with a failing grade, with statements to the effect that your family may be harmed, and/or you may be suspended to an alternative location for no valid reason. The principal may accuse your parents of abuse and call the Administration for Children's Services to have you put into foster care.

If you are a parent, all of your children will be tormented in their classrooms, and SOHO reports will be written that will be forever held against you. You will never see these reports. You may be barred from entering the school, even for Parent-Teacher Conferences.

If you are a teacher, you will be discontinued (if you are not tenured) and put into a rubber room if you are a tenured professional. Why are you removed from your classroom? So that investigators can create false charges against you without your knowledge and consent. This has always, in my opinion, been the purpose of the rubber rooms/ATR pool.

If you are an administrator you are given a promotion to the Children's First Network, demoted to an AP status, or given a school out of control so that you have no chance of making a good impression upon anyone.

My first experience with how much the DOE hates being made a fool of came in 2000, when I spoke up about the theft at Booker T. Washington MS 54 by the Principal, Lawrence ("Larry") Lynch. I was the PTA President. I was called a liar, a thief, and a child abuser, publicly. But I would not succumb to their lies, so they - the DOE -  and their so-called thugs/investigators went after my children.

Then I met David Pakter in 2003, and he told me about the rubber room (25 Chapel Street, Brooklyn) at which he was re-assigned, and I started visiting the teachers there. Then David was charged with 3020-a, and he demanded an open and public hearing so that I could attend. NYSUT Attorney Chris Callagy was his attorney (pictured at left, Betsy Combier and Chris Callegy, photo taken by David Pakter).

Evidently the Department had a problem with David and I publicly making fun of the Department, because suddenly David was charged with making the Department of Education "look bad". This was the first time that I had heard of such a 3020-a charge. David and I spoke with Randi Weingarten, President of the UFT, about it and she agreed with us. She called over to the DOE, demanding that they drop this charge, and the charge was dismissed.

Now, the DOE is again attacking anyone who makes them look bad. I guess because I don't work for them I have not yet received my punishment for my exercise of free speech, but this has not been the case with several teachers who recently publicized the attacks by DOE thugs. Cindy Mauro and Alini Brito, Francesco Portelos and Lydia Howrilka were all charged with making the DOE look bad and were to be fired for getting the attention of media (Lydia was fired because she is not tenured and has no right to a due process hearing known as 3020-a). Francesco was arrested.

You cant make this stuff up.

Betsy Combier

Lydia Howrilka

Bronx teacher thrown in jail after criticizing principal


A Bronx teacher who criticized her boss got a hard lesson recently when she was thrown in jail.
Lydia Howrilka, 24, of the Academy for Language and Technology HS, was fired last July by Principal Arisleyda Urena, who called her ineffective.
Howrilka sued and filed a complaint alleging Urena improperly raffled off iPads and other costly prizes for kids. The claim prompted a DOE probe.
Howrilka sent an e-mail asking about her treatment to Urena and Chancellor Carmen FariƱa — and to some 40 other city and state education officials and city politicians.
She got a call from the NYPD asking her to surrender on Urena’s charge of aggravated harassment.
Howrilka spent seven hours in the 84th Precinct house before being moved to Brooklyn’s Central Booking.
After seven more hours, a court officer said the DA had dismissed the charge.
“I believe it was done to intimidate,” she said. “And I’m concerned it will have a chilling effect on other whistleblowers.”
Urena’s lawyer, Tim Parlatore, said his client called cops “because of repeated, unwanted e-mails and communications.”
Also tossed in the klink was Francesco Portelos, a technology teacher at IS 49 Berta A. Dreyfus on Staten Island, who was yanked from his classroom two years ago, after launching a blog accusing Principal Linda Hall of violating rules. The outcome of his termination hearing on charges of insubordination and other alleged misconduct is pending.
Portelos, 35, who collects a $75,796 salary, wrote a satirical blog post on Feb. 24 saying he had hacked into the DOE’s payroll system with the password “kittensRcute,” and given himself a raise.
“Ridiculous story? Yes it is,” he wrote in the same post, adding “the truth is I can’t hack and never have.”
But the DOE’s chief information security officer, Desmond White, filed a complaint of official misconduct.
The police report asks, “Is Victim fearful of their safety/life?” White apparently answered “YES.”
Portelos spent 33 hours in custody, sleeping on the floor of a crowded cell next to a toilet, he said, before the DA dropped the charge.
The DOE made no apology. “We believe Mr. Portelos acted inappropriately with a post on his blog, and we notified the NYPD out of an abundance of caution,” a spokesman said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Whatever the facts... Pretending to have an 'abundance of caution' might look good for 'protecting kids' but, er, it has to actually apply to the case in point, which it didn't...
as far as this article says, anyway (pinch of salt).