From: N B
To: Jennifer Hogan <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2017 00:02:32 +0000
Subject: RE: Eileen Ghastin
Eileen's school, Flushing High School is a Renewal School, a place where students who did not get any of their other choices for High School, attend. It is a place where no one is safe, there are no consequences for anything anyone does, and discipline doesn't get in the way of ignoring anyone's misconduct.
At her 3020-a Student "D" testified:
"A. Overall, I would say I enjoyed my
20 experience. But it wasn't the best place to be.
21 Like, there were times I was kind of scared to walk
22 down the hallways. There were times where, like, I
23 would witness fights and drug deals going on. It
24 was, it was a really frightening environment....
4 "mom". Like, we all have that one teacher where we
5 feel safe around them, where we feel the need that we
6 can express ourselves freely. Ms. Ghastin provided,
7 like, a really safe environment, a really free
8 environment, where I was able to just, like, talk--
9 like, it could be any--anything about the curriculum,
10 or basic life lessons in themselves. Like, for
11 example, we were doing Uncle Tom's Cabin, and we were
12 relating things to modern day racism. And we were
13 able to voice our opinions on as to how we felt about
14 the book, about, like, modern day experiences, about
15 everything. We didn't feel like we were restricted
16 in any way "
Principal Tyee Chin has been in the NYPOST recently, accused of fraudulently raising graduation rates. Flushing HS is a school dying for lack of good leadership and without any possibility of providing a safe environment for students.
But Eileen took on the challenges, and rose above them. She has been teaching for 19 years, starting at Flushing HS in 2011, and has earned a stellar rating every year, despite extremely insulting comments coming from the students at Flushing. Statements like
"Suck my dick," was something frequently used by the students, and: "Shut the fuck up. What is wrong with you?....".
Eileen wrote up all the incidents and reported them. Nothing ever came of that. But on May 16, 2016, Eileen's life changed forever. On that day, a student came in late, and was disrupting the class. He did not want to listen to her asking him to settle down. In fact, he starting verbally abusing her and calling her a "bitch". Eileen testified that:
"And at, at this point, he kind of like swatted at me. And unfortunately, I became very upset. I said, "Student "A"," I, I did yell. I said, "Move fast. Move, now." And he just got very upset. You know, he is like, "Who the fuck are you talking to?" And then again I said, "Look," you know, I got upset.
The teen then “went berserk,” Ghastin said. “He jumped out of his chair, rushed toward me and raised his arm,” encased in a hard cast from elbow to hand.
“I’m going to beat the s–t out of you,” Ghastin quoted him as yelling. “I’m a boxer, so I can really f–k you up. "I am really going to do a lot of damage."
Eileen was frozen with fear that she was really going to be hurt. And then, she said, " I thought to myself, I have to say something quickly or else I am going to die. --you know. So, I realized, you know, that he is in a very--a blind rage. If I say something strong enough to him, he will stop.
I said, "If you beat me, I will kill you."
This statement stopped him.
Eileen said, " Because he stopped. He was like, he kind of stopped, and paused, like, I don't know, like somehow I, I made him aware of what is going on. You know, he was just like stopped, turn around, started saying something about me being an old bitch. Grabbed his stuff, and then walked out."
Eileen apologized to the students still sitting in the room, and told them that it was time to move on, to prepare for the Regents and final exams. So that's what they did. Later, Eileen wrote a statement and the rest is history.
Eileen was charged with 3020-a charges, for verbal abuse, failure to perform her duties by engaging in conduct unbecoming her position, misconduct, inappropriate comments, and conduct that rendered her unfit to perform her obligations to the service. She was represented by NYSUT Attorney Jennifer Hogan. The Department was represented by Kareen Evans-McKay.
The DOE also came up with the Specification below, but did not serve it on Eileen, so it could not be used:
Dont you love it? The DOE HATES press coverage they do not control.
Below are excerpts from Arbitrator Williams' shocking opinion and punishment:
The Respondent's language was belittling; embarrassing; substantially interfered with a student's ability to benefit in the class and education program; interfered with a student's mental and emotional wellbeing; and reasonably could cause a student to fear for their physical safety and could reasonably be expected to cause physical injury. The violation of Chancellors .Regulation A-421 was clearly established.
The proven conduct also evidenced Respondent's unprofessionalism, extremely poor judgment, lack of control, lack of restraint, impulsiveness, and unwillingness to accept the demands of her position. The verbal exchanges that happened were not only unnecessary but the circumstances at issue could have easily escalated into a physical confrontation had student CF not exited the room.
Simply put, Respondent could have mitigated the situation and avoided provocation by not engaging in a verbal power struggle with a child. Respondent's role as a pedagogue is to set a positive example. Respondent failed to heed the often-quoted sentiment of former First Lady Michelle Obama "When they go low, we go high." Teachers, of necessity, are expected to "take the high road" and not lower their standards in student interactions. ......
In sum, I find the appropriate penalty in this matter to be a four-week suspension without pay penalty; two weeks for the use of profanity during an interaction with a student plus two weeks for the issuance of a verbal death threat to a student. Respondent's future is in her own hands and this is a Final Warning that additional deficiencies of a similar nature warrant termination from employment."
The Department's policy of charging teachers for student misconduct must stop. the DOE and the police work together on this, where students are allowed to do whatever they please because the DOE is afraid of a parent filing a lawsuit to defend their little angels. The police liaisons need the support of the principal to keep their jobs, so the mantra is, if someone comes in and wants to file a complaint at their school, don't take it.
If you touch a student at all in order to stop them, you will be charged with corporal punishment. If you say to the potential assailant "stop, you better not come any closer", you will be charged with verbal abuse. How? Because faster than a speeding bullet the student in the class will report the incident to a nearby adult. No matter who this person is - AP, safety agent, guidance counselor.
I remember a case a few years ago where the charge was that a teacher, while handing out a test to a student who usually fails got a great grade, briefly touched her shoulder to get her attention, then said, "Good job!"
The next thing that happened was the teacher was charged with sexual harassment, and standing above the student while handing out the test so that he could look down her blouse. The girl came in and cried, right on cue. She followed the script.
I'm not kidding. He won his case, however, basically because he is a great guy, but also because the OSI investigator came in and testified that touching someone on the shoulder is not corporal punishment.
The DOE attorneys have a heavy burden at 3020-a: they must make a big enough wad of filth and false evidence so that when it is thrown against a wall, like at the 3020-a hearing, something sticks.
Public Schools in New York City are in chaos right now due to the unfortunate DOE policy of keeping "Hands Off The Kids!" This policy means that if a child or young adult is coming to you to beat you up, you cannot do anything. You must allow yourself to be beaten up.
We are pulling all stops from this Appeal, in order to fight the random and arbitrary inability of the DOE to control gangs and bad kids in our NYC public schools. This is a detriment to all, and must be changed.
Arbitrator Williams made an error here, an error which must be corrected with all charges removed from Eileen's file and any monetary losses should be reimbursed plus a monetary award to repair Eileen's damaged soul. She needs to be back in a classroom. Now.
It is indeed shocking to me how our public administrators put money and stupid policies over educational excellence. This must stop.
Teacher Quit Letters Point To A Broken System
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