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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mobbing and Teacher Osman Couey

PS 194 in Harlem
MOBBING: bullying of an individual by a group... such as a family, friends, peers, school, workplace, neighborhood, community, or online.
When it occurs as emotional abuse in the workplace, such as "ganging up" by co-workers, subordinates or superiors, to force someone out of the workplace through rumorinnuendointimidationhumiliationdiscrediting, and isolation, it is also referred to as malicious, nonsexual, nonracial, general harassment.
Mobbing: Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace by Noa Davenport,
Ruth D. Schwartz and Gail Pursell Elliott.

I am a parent of four daughters, all of whom attended NYC public schools, and I am also a parent/teacher advocate for anyone who has been deliberately and falsely accused of anything. I'm a rights person and believe that anybody, whether a teacher, principal, assistant principal, guidance counselor, or any staff member, parent, young adult or child, who intentionally hurts someone should be punished to the full extent of the law, but should not be convicted of anything without adequate proof.

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.

Osman Couey
The huge problem  at this very moment, namely the outrage of parents in New York City and the world (see internet press releases like the one below) against so-called "abusive" teachers is that the screaming and yelling against teachers like Osman Couey is wrong. The charges are unproven, made up by parents who don't know, and don't care to know, any facts, and a school system which benefits if the violence in our city schools by students of all ages is covered up.

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.

Betsy Combier



At 10:00 AM Press Conference, Parents Release Names of 19 Teachers and Staff Who Abused Children But Were Still on City Payroll in 2015

Department of Education is Refusing to Comply with Parent's FOIL Request for Names of Teachers on City Payroll with Histories of Abusive Incidents Against Students

New York, NY On Friday morning, public school parents will gather on the steps of City Hall to launch the #SafeSchoolsNow campaign, beginning with the release of the names of 19 Department of Education teachers and staff who have been reported to have abused students but were still on the city's most recent payroll records in 2015. Through a new website, Families for Excellent Schools will solicit stories from parents, children, and educators across New York who have witnessed violence in their schools, with the goal of protecting and educating families about violent and abusive teachers and other incidents of school violence.

Fatima Scipio, Samantha Silva, and Erica Medina -- all mothers of children who were recently reported as victims of school violence (See CBS 2, PIX 11, Daily News) -- will lead the press conference and call on the Department of Education to stop dragging its feet on a FOIL request submitted last week requesting the names of all teachers involved in violent incidents in New York City's district schools. Tomorrow's press conference comes on the heels of a report revealing that violent incidents in city schools spiked by 23% last year, contrary to the de Blasio administration's insistence that schools were getting safer.

Link to TV Ad of Samantha Silva, Demanding that Mayor de Blasio tell the truth about school violence:
Link to Families for Excellent Schools’ report showing 23% increase in violent incidents in schools:

New York City Public School Parents, Including Samantha Silva, Erica Medina, and Fatima Scipio, Mothers of Children who are Recent Victims of School Violence

Families for Excellent Schools Releases Names of 19 Teachers and Staff Who Have Abused Students, Yet Were Still on the City's Payroll in 2015, Renews Call for DOE to Release Full List of Abusive Teachers to the Public

10:00 AM
Friday, March 4, 2016

Press Conference: New York City Hall Steps

Families for Excellent Schools harnesses the power of families to advance policy and political changes that create and sustain excellent schools.
On Twitter at: @Fam4ExcSchools

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.


Kids at an out-of-control Harlem elementary school humped each other in the hallways, groped each other in classrooms and started fires and fights — all part of a sick culture permitted by an “emotionally unstable” former principal, teachers and parents said.
The behavior became so rowdy at Public School 194 that a third-grade girl was sexually assaulted in 2009 by a boy who last year was the ringleader of a group that dragged a student into a bathroom and forced him to perform oral sex, according to court papers.
The mother of the assaulted boy filed a $6 million lawsuit Friday saying former principal Charyn Koppelson, who supervised the roughly 200 students from 2008 to January 2012, never reported the attack on the girl — allowing the instigator to terrorize her son.
The girl’s mother also filed a $10 million lawsuit against the Education Department last week.
“It was amazing the amount of stuff (Koppelson) got away with,” said a former teacher at the school, who requested anonymity. “She flat-out lied and she would cover up mistakes.”
Parents and teachers said Koppelson was known for sweeping problems under the rug or blaming them on other educators. They also say she was often unreachable because her email and voicemail boxes were always full.
When a female student got jumped after school, “(Koppelson) said she had no time to deal with it,” said parent association president Keisha Luis.
When students held down a second-grade boy and cut his hair with scissors, “(Koppelson) said, ‘That couldn’t possibly happen,’” recalled another furious parent.
“She was horrible,” said the parent, who declined to give her name. “There was no precaution taken for kids’ safety.”
Koppelson often sauntered into work at the W. 144th St. school around noon, and she allowed her husband to serve as an “unofficial” custodian, the former teacher said.
“It was very uncomfortable for everyone involved,” she added. “He would lurk around the building.”
Education officials could not confirm those allegations.
Koppelson was removed from the school and placed in an “excess pool” in January 2012, according to agency records, where she continues to earn roughly $106,000 a year.
She performs administrative duties as an assistant principal, but Education officials refused to say where Koppelson works now.
Josephine Bazan
Josephine Bazan, a 23-year agency veteran, replaced Koppelson in February 2012. A month after Bazan was installed, the sick bathroom session happened.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said he takes the allegations made in the lawsuits “very seriously.”
“I feel strongly that all students are entitled to a safe school environment, and I take allegations of improper contact very seriously,” Walcott said in a statement. “I cannot go into further detail because of confidentiality rules and pending litigation.”
During Koppelson’s last year at the school, in 2010-11, it scored a “D” on its report card. Before taking the position at PS 194, she worked in supervisory roles at PS 33 and PS 111, both in the Bronx.
During her four-year tenure at PS 194, there were nearly 200 violent or disruptive incidents, and six sex offenses, according to state records.
Koppelson was disciplined by the Education Department in 2011 for not filing a report when Emergency Medical Services was called for a student. She also failed to notify her supervisors of a 2008 arrest for driving while intoxicated. She did not answer calls for comment.