|PS 194 in Harlem|
Ruth D. Schwartz and Gail Pursell Elliott.
Anybody accused of doing some kind of intentional harm must be investigated by professional investigators, who prove that an event or wrong-doing did indeed occur, and THEN, and only then, should the person receive a penalty equal to the crime committed.
I must say that we all should make sure that accusations of wrong-doing do not convict the person accused without adequate safeguards for due process and the proof of guilt presented. The voice of the accused must be heard. I want to be a person who hears that voice.
Please take note of the fact that no one from the UFT, MORE, or UFT SOLIDARITY, reached out to Osman to find out what his side of the story was. No one.
Think about this: the alleged event occurred Dec. 23, 2015; throughout January 2016, Osman taught his classes, and the complainant (student) held his hand, told him how much he liked him, etc. No one said anything about any event. Osman was arrested February 23, 2016 and spent the night in jail with about 30 other men in the same cell, away from his daughter. Does this make sense? If Osman threw a child across a room, why did he get arrested two months later and not the day of? Because the event did not happen.
I recognized the name Osman Couey as someone I knew many years ago. He is a friend of a friend, and I called him up to find out exactly what happened. We have now spoken for more than 5 hours and I have seen videos and read papers. Osman is not a monster, and not an abusive teacher. In fact, he is a beloved math teacher for 22 years at the same school, a man who the culprit that made the complaint through his parents likes. The so-called "incident" - namely the throwing of a boy in his class - never happened.
This non-event was taken as reported by the boy's parents to the school principal, who most certainly did not want to investigate what really happened, in case the student was lying. You see, school principals benefit from not reporting violence in the school between or among students. Bad things follow reports of violent students wandering in and out of classrooms, like angry parents file lawsuits, the school funding may be reduced, etc., the school could be placed on the VADIR list and lose community support, funding, and other benefits.
BUT if a teacher can be accused, benefits flow. If the teacher is removed from payroll, the school has one less salary to pay. If the teacher accused has a high salary and is tenured, all the better. Removing this teacher on false charges means one less high salary to pay, and one less tenured position open for a young, untenured person to fill, or an ATR.
Again, if a teacher really is stupid enough to actually commit a crime against a child or anyone, he/she must be punished appropriately. Read the second paragraph above.
Everyone believes that "abusive" teachers are everywhere, right? The news makes sure that the public believes this, with articles published daily on someone being forced into a rubber room somewhere because of having sex in a closet, hitting a child, whatever. I never believe what I read in the news until I see the proof.
In Osman's case, which will be revealed to a 3020-a Arbitrator, I have seen information that proves what Osman and others have said about the incident and the level of violence by the students themselves. Osman is not guilty of throwing any student in any classroom or hallway at any time. That is what I will say at this time.
But the NYC DOE loves creating a media moment, especially where the accused is found guilty without a trial. Its called conviction by press. The Media Advisory below is very scary: to have a mob after you before you have been found guilty, by a preponderance of the evidence.
Osman Couey and all those accused without proof do not deserve this.
Link to TV Ad of Samantha Silva, Demanding that Mayor de Blasio tell the truth about school violence: https://goo.gl/XDTqnI
Link to Families for Excellent Schools’ report showing 23% increase in violent incidents in schools: http://goo.gl/tLBAQ9
Former principal at out-of-control Harlem elementary school permitted sick culture that led to third-grader sex attack: parents, teachers
The boy was attacked by three other male students, who pushed him into a bathroom stall and forced him to perform oral sex. The ringleader is also at the center of $10 million suit
filed last week on behalf of a girl who was assaulted by the same boy in 2009.