A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by these actions and programs. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, people who have been re-assigned from their life and career. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
The city also paid an undisclosed amount when, in 2012, it settled another harassment case against Kwait. That one was brought by an assistant principal who accused him of discrimination when she became pregnant.
In the latest suit, Catenacci claimed that Kwait pressed her to go home with him after an alcohol-soaked retirement party for a colleague and attempted to straddle her at another school related event.
“Mr. Kwait made numerous sexual advances towards Ms. Catenacci,” the suit, brought by attorney Steven Morelli, states.
Knowing she was a lesbian, Kwait profanely interrogated her about her sexual interest in other female staffers at the school, the suit stated. When she rebuffed his advances, Kwait revoked her teaching responsibilities and undermined her, the suit said.
Maya, meanwhile, accused Kwait of criticizing her forgetting pregnantand taking time off.
Despite his legal woes, Kwait remains principal at the school, where the motto is “the relentless pursuit of success,” according to its Web site.
“We are reviewing Mr. Kwait’s status,” said Department of Education spokeswoman Devora Kaye.
A randy Queens high-school principal has cost the city more than a halfa million dollarsto settle sexual-harassment suits brought by staffers and students — and he’s still on the job.
John Bowne HS Principal Howard Kwait presented the latestheftytab to taxpayers on Thursday, when the city agreed to give a combined $275,000 to two former assistant principals who accused him of everything from lewd advances to fudging grades.
Maria Catenacci andSallyMaya were so disgusted by Kwait’s boorish antics that they resigned their positions, court papers state. Maya agreed to settle her case for $150,000 and Catenacci for $125,000.
“It was best for the city to settle,” aspokesman toldthe Post.
It’s not the first time Kwait’s antics cost the city cash. A 2012 suit against him by a student’s family, who said the girl was falsely accused of sending staffers threatening e-mails, was settled by the city for $225,000.
“We settled after evaluating the facts and the risks of proceeding with the litigation,” said a city Law Department spokesman.
From this blog in 2014:
FRIDAY, JANUARY 31, 2014
COIB Fines Principal Howard Kwait of John Bowne High School...Again
Principal of John Bowne High School in Queens fined for jaunts paid for by aide
The aide to Howard Kwait, principal of John Bowne High School, spent more than $11,000 on getaways for the pair to Greece then to Greece, Italy, Turkey and Croatia.
Kwait, the school’s principal since 2006, received a disciplinary letter in his file. He referred all questions for comment to the Education Department.
It’s not the first time Kwait, who makes $145,000 a year, has been disciplined. He received a letter in his file for stealing food from the cafeteria and cursing at employees, among other transgressions.
I know a teacher undergoing his "trial" (3020-a) right now, whom I believe was falsely accused by the principal, Howard Kwait. When this teacher was removed from his school and criminalized like so many other innocent victims of the Bloomberg-Klein-Black-Walcott regime, where was the outrage?
Principal Kwait made a huge error in allowing an arrest of the daughter of a diplomat from India, but he also made the false claims process of theGotcha Squadan international issue.Krittika Biswaswas accused of sending obscene emails to her teacher. Of course there was no real "investigator" on hand to ask what the facts in the case really were before arresting her, happens every day to an unsuspecting teacher. Now, the improper and scandalous violation of rights is international. Perhaps something will change? Richard Condon and his riot police may be investigated? It's certainly time for that to occur.
Why cant the press expose principals who terrorize New York City public school teachers?
Round-Up: The Strange Case of Krittika Biswas Wall Street JournalLINK
India’s media erupted with indignation today over the case of Krittika Biswas, the daughter of an Indian diplomat serving at the Indian Consulate General in Manhattan, who claims she was wrongfully arrested after being falsely accused of sending obscene emails to her school teacher, according to reports.
The 18-year-old was reportedly kept in custody for more than 24 hours on Feb. 8 and also was sent for more than a month to a special suspension program by her school despite being cleared by investigators. She filed a notice of claim May 6 saying that she is suing New York City, among others, for $1.5 million.
Ms. Biswas had reportedly tried to claim diplomatic immunity. But a U.S. State Department spokesman, Mark Toner, was quoted by NDTV as saying that the immunity does not extend to family members of diplomats.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in New Delhi said in an emailed statement: “We are aware of press reporting regarding filing of a lawsuit by the daughter of an Indian consular officer. However we have no comment on this ongoing litigation.”
The Deccan Herald reported that Krittika felt ill-treated in custody, saying: “Krittika alleged that she was not allowed to use the bathroom for a long-time”. It added some other unsavory details, “that she couldn’t drink water from a water fountain because it had another person’s vomit, and although it was really cold, she could not use the blanket because it was really dirty.”
In addition to the lawsuit, the girl’s lawyer also suggested that the City’s mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, give her a key to the freedom of the city. But Mr. Bloomberg seemed unlikely to grant the request, according to The New York Post (which, like The Wall Street Journal, is owned by News Corp.)
Ms. Biswas is gaining some support for her plight on Facebook. A group called “’Krittika Biswas’-Price of Every Tear Will Be Paid” was set up this morning. The group as of Thursday afternoon had 86 “likes.” But it remains to be seen what broader ramifications her case may have. “We don’t know if such strange kind of events will really have an impact on India-U.S. relations,” said one Indian official.
Indian diplomat's daughter claims she was falsely arrested for obscene emails
An Indian diplomat’s daughter who claims she was falsely arrested and suspended for sending obscene emails to teachers at her Queens high school is suing the city for a whopping $1.5 million – and even a key to the city, her lawyer said today.
In a notice of claim filed on May 6, John Bowne HS senior Krittika Biswas, daughter of the vice counsel at the Consulate General of India in Manhattan, Debashish Biswas, said her claims of diplomatic immunity were ignored when she was cuffed and locked up for more than 24 hours on Feb. 8 after a shoddy probe by administrators into the emails.
Even after the Queens DA dropped the charges and expunged her arrest from the record, school officials booted the 18-year-old girl to an offsite suspension center for more than a month, according to the claim.
It was only after principal Howard Kwait found the real perpetrator that Biswas was allowed back into school.
“The basis for this targeted inquiry was as criminally malicious as it was reckless,” Biswas’s lawyer Ravi Batra said during a news conference.
In addition to unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, Batra curiously suggested that Mayor Bloomberg could perhaps give “a key to the City to Krittika Biswas as a token of heartfelt sorrow for the unbecoming pain inflicted upon her.”
Batra also claims that officers failed to read Biswas Miranda rights and "continued to inquire about her computer usage."
The state released proposed regulationsfor New York’s new evaluation law on Friday that would allow districts to further reduce the role of standardized tests and outside observers.
That regulations are set to be discussed Monday at a highly anticipated Board of Regents meeting, days after seven of 17 memberssigned onto a position paper that recommended its own version of regulations. The state’s proposal, which needs Regents approval, includes some options that address some of the paper’s demands.
The regulations don’t include anything about delaying implementation of the new teacher evaluation system, a key demand of the dissenting Regents that also has the support of thecity teachers unionand thecity Department of Education. The state department has said it would create a system for districts toapplyfor extra time, in two-month increments, to delay implementation. But the regulations don’t make it any clearer how districts will qualify for those waivers.
The proposed regulations, which are summarized in thisslideshow, include some significant changes to the initial proposals that state officialspresented last month. Those changes include:
A further reduction in the role of state tests for districts that opt to use a secondassessmentto evaluate teachers. Student growth on the state tests would be allowed to count for as little at 50 percent of the student performance portion of a teacher’s rating if used in conjunction with other assessments, such as the performance-based tasks used in New York City, that the state deems to be of high quality. Previously, the state had proposed that state tests count for as much as 80 percent of the student performance measurement.
An even more diminished potential role for outside evaluators. The state will allow principals observations to count for up to 90 percent of a teacher’s observation portion of evaluations, up from 80 percent.
New language allowing the state to step in and make changes to local collective bargaining agreements “if a district’s system does not result in meaningful feedback for teachers and principals.”
The regulations aren’t likely to satisfy the Regents who voiced their criticism this week. Their position paper calls for all districts to be given one year to implement the evaluations and state test scores to count for no more than 20 percent of the entire evaluation.
It’s shaping up to be a busy agenda for next week’s Board of Regents meeting:
A vote onupdated regulations about what would have to happen in low-performing schools under the state’s new receivership law. One symbolic change is that they won’t be referred to “failing” any more in regulatory language. New York City has12 schoolsthat could face a more intensive turnaround plan next year whiledozens of others have two years to improve.
Long-term renewals for five charter schools authorized by the Department of Education: Achievement First Endeavor (five years), Community Roots (five years), International Leadership (four years), the New York Center for Autism (five years) and Renaissance (four years). Some of the schools included letters from the school either defending theirenrollmentnumbers, or explaining what they’ll do to serve more needy students.
OSHA’s Sanitation Standard as It Applies to
Access to Toilet Facilities
The Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) Sanitation Standard (29 CFR 1910.141(c)(1)(i) requires
employers to provide their employees with toilet facilities. This standard is
enforced by the New York State Department of Labor Public Employees Safety and
Health Bureau (NYSDOL PESH) for public employees.
Employers must provide the appropriate number
of toilet facilities as per this standard. In addition to the actual standard,
OSHA issued an interpretation of the standard on April 6, 1998. PESH must also
apply OSHA’s interpretation. According to OSHA:
Timely Access is the
Goal of the Sanitation Standard
standard is intended to ensure that employers provide employees with sanitary
and available toilet facilities so that employees will not suffer the adverse
health effects that can result if toilets are not available when employees need
·The language and
structure of the standard reflect OSHA’s intent that employees be able to use
toilet facilities promptly.
·Timely access is the
goal of the standard.
·Employers must make
toilet facilities available so that employees can use them when they need to do
·The employer may not
impose unreasonable restrictions on employee use of the facilities.
Individuals vary in their need to use toilet
·OSHA does not specify
a time limit for access because individuals vary significantly in the frequency
with which they need to use toilet facilities.
·Pregnant women, women
with stress incontinence, and men with prostatic hypertrophy need to urinate
·Increased frequency of
voiding may also be caused by various medications, environmental factors such
as cold, and by high fluid intake.
·Diet, medication use
and medical conditions may also affect the need to use the facilities
OSHA/PESH Citation Policy
·OSHA will evaluate
employee complaints of restrictions on toilet facility use on a case-by-case
basis to determine whether the restrictions are reasonable.
must be given to the nature of the restriction, including the length of time
that employees are required to delay bathroom use and the employer’s
explanation for the restriction.
should examine whether restrictions are general policy or arise only in
particular circumstances or with particular supervisors, whether the employer
policy recognizes individual medical needs, whether employees have reported
adverse health effects, and the frequency with which employees are denied
permission to use the toilet facilities.
OSHA/PESH requires that a minimum of:
·6 toilet facilities
(water closets) to be provided when there are 111–150 employees
·5 toilet facilities to
be provided when there are 81–110 employees
·4 toilet facilities to
be provided when there are 56–80 employees,
·3 toilet facilities
when there are 36–55 employees
·2 toilet facilities
when there are 16–35 persons
·1 toilet facility when
there are 1–15 persons
Where there are over 150 persons there must be
one toilet facility for each additional 40 persons. Where toilet rooms will be
occupied by no more than one person at a time and can be locked from the
inside, separate rooms for each sex need not be provided. Under no
circumstances should staff and students use the same bathroom.