September 11 was not a very good day for me this year. Third period I had a science conference meeting that would lead to a disciplinary letter. (See posts for “Flashback to September 11” and “Repeatedly Refusing” Feb. 23 and 25, 2009). After school I had a meeting with Assistant Principal Zippo that would lead to another disciplinary letter (See Bathroom Emergencies” Feb. 22, 09). Eighth period three boys had bathroom emergencies. That would eventually lead to a charge of verbal and physical abuse and a disciplinary letter.
On October 7, 2009 I had a meeting with Principal P. in which she gave me student statements, which were the reason for her “investigation” I signed a confidentiality agreement that I could not reveal the names of the students or the content of their statements.
However, I did not sign a confidentiality agreement about not revealing the contents of Principal’s P’s disciplinary letter.
Here it is:
Dear Ms. Untamed,
On October 7, I met with you and your union representative, Mr. Baker to review an allegation against you that was made by Domingo Alvarez, Bernard Zagat, and Ajax Ahab. Specifically, it is alleged that on September 11, 2008 during periods 7 and 8 you did not acknowledge Domingo’s raised hand for 15 minutes. He stated that he needed to go to the bathroom and that it was an emergency. This is in violation of Chancellor’s Regulation A-430. You also ignored Bernard and Domingo ’s request to go to the bathroom, and later told them to go to the bathroom without a pass. Bernard, Domingo, and Ajax also stated that you announced to the class that they had bladder problems and told them that you would call their homes and tell their parents that they had bladder problems. Using language that includes words denoting a disability which tends to cause fear or physical or mental distress in violation of Chancellor’s Regulation A-421.
At our meeting, I shared with you the specific allegations made against you as stated above. I shared witness statements and gave you an opportunity to review these statements. Once you signed the privacy acknowledgment form, I gave you copies of all fourteen statements.
In response, you stated that you would respond in writing.
After reviewing the complaints against you, the complainant’s statement, the witnesses’ statements, and your written explanation, I conclude that you committed corporal punishment by ignoring the complainant Domingo Alvarez’s request to go to the bathroom for 15 minutes on September 11, 2008. This violates Chancellor’s Regulation A420 which prohibits corporal punishment. I also conclude that you did announce to the class that Domingo Alvarez, Bernard Zagat, and Ajax Ahab had bladder problems and that you were going to call their homes to inform their parents. This violates Chancellor’s Regulation A421 which prohibits verbal abuse.
I note that you were given a copy of Chancellor’s Regulations A-420 and A421 at our first faculty conference I September (see attached copy of your signed acknowledgement of receipt).
You are hereby advised that the above described conduct may lead to further disciplinary action, including an unsatisfactory rating, and disciplinary charges that could lead to the termination of your employment.
The letter has no date, but I signed the letter on October 27, 2008.
In response to the accusations, I wrote this letter to Principal P.
I have carefully read the 14 statements you gave to me during our meeting on Tuesday, October 7, 2008.
I sincerely do not know how to reply to these statements, other than to say that they are heart-breakingly false and abusive. I am gravely concerned about the welfare of these children and wonder who influenced them to give such horribly false statements against a teacher they barely knew.
I was physically sickened when I read these statements. I felt faint and dizzy throughout the day and almost fainted during the passing between seventh and eighth periods. I continued to have dizzy spells until I reached home on Tuesday afternoon. Repeated false statements against me over a period of three years have subjected me to long-term stress. Long-term stress can eventually cause serious illness and even death.
I have made it abundantly clear to all students in all of my classes that they have permission to leave immediately without a pass if they have a bathroom emergency. I have reminded them of this policy every time that I see them. This is not verbal or physical abuse.
If a child has his or her hand up at a time when I am not ready take questions, I always tell them to put their hand down and wait until I am finished speaking—unless it’s an emergency. This is not verbal or physical abuse.
My students are aware that an emergency is caused by a problem of some kind. Parents need to know about any problems their child may have. It is not abusive to call a parent about academic problems. It is not abusive to call parents about bathroom problems.
I NEVER made the statement that any child has a bladder problem. I am not a urologist. I am not a health care professional. I have no way of knowing that a child has a bladder problem unless a parent or health-care professional tells me. The fact that you have so many students saying that I said things that I never said, just proves that you, or someone on your staff is manipulating children to make false statements.
The physical and mental welfare of my students is extremely important to me. I would never do anything to hurt them. I certainly would never lie about a child or teach a child to lie.
Anyone who encourages a child to lie is a child abuser, and does not belong in this or any other educational system.
You say it is your duty to report complaints of children against teachers. By the same token, it is my duty to report the criminal manipulation of children’s statements for the purpose of ending a teacher’s career.
Signed Moriah Untamed