Sunday, March 1, 2009

Fill in the Blanks

It has been pointed out to me that the disciplinary letter in my last post looks a lot like a sample letter the DOE suggests for their principals in the
PRINCIPAL'S HANDBOOK.'s%20manual2.pdf


(Date—within 3 months of the occurrence)

(Employee Name)
(School and Position)
(Employee File No.)

Dear (employee name):

On (date of meeting) I met with you and your union representative (insert name), to review an allegation against you that was made by (insert student name). Specifically it was alleged that on date of incident you (state specific allegation, for example “on (date) you grabbed John Doe by the arm, twisted it, and ejected him from the classroom in violation of Chancellor’s Regulation A-420,” or “you called John a ‘moron’ when he asked you to explain the homework assignment in violation of Chancellor’s Regulation A-421.”)

At our meeting, I shared with you the specific allegation made against you as stated above and shared the statements of witnesses who were interviewed. In response, you stated that, (state exactly what the employee said). (NOTE: Only provide student witness statements with names of students if the employee signs the privacy acknowledgment. If the employee does not sign, then s/he may have the witness statements without the names of the students. Be careful not to disclse other documents with the names of the students I the absence of a signed privacy acknowledgement.)

(If the employee denies the allegation, ask (a) why the employee believes the witnesses would lie, and (b) if there are any witnesses who would corroborate the employee’s version of events. You should mention in this letter that you asked these questions. If the employee gives reasons why witness would lie, or answers yes to question (b), you must investigate these new facts to determine whether the witness statements remain reliable, or whether the additional witnesses alter your conclusion, before substantiating in this letter.)

After reviewing the complaint against you, the complainant’s statement, the witness(es) statements, and your explaination, I conclude that (insert your specific findings. For example: “you grabbed John Doe by the arm, twisted it, and ejected him from the classroom” or “you called John a ‘moron’ when he asked you to explain the homework assignment”) on (insert date).

(Note, if there are contradicting witness statements, then you must explain why you believed one story over the other. For example: “While you claim that you did not twist John’s arm, or eject him from the classroom, six students stated that they witnessed you do so, and their statements were consistent as each contained the same details.”)

This violated (Chancellor’s Regulation A-420 which prohibits corporal punishment and/or Chancellor’s Regulations A-420 or 421 which prohibits verbal abuse.) I note that you were given a copy of Chancellor’s Regulations A-420 or 421 at our first faculty conference in September (see attached copy of yur signed acknowledgement of receipt).

(If you substantiate corporal punishment for a tenured teacher, include the following: “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.”

Consult with the Administrative Trials Unit if you believe there is sufficient evidence to initiate disciplinary charges leading to the employee’s termination.)

(If you substantiate corporal punishment for probationary teacher and believe termination is warranted, please consult your LIS. Only the LIS may terminate a probationary teacher. If termination is not warranted, describe the warranted discipline (e.g. suspension without pay) and conclude with: “You are hereby advised that you are (suspendend without pay the above-described conduct may lead to further disciplinary action, including a suspension without pay, unsatisfactory rating and/or the termination of your employment.”)

(If you substantiate corporal punishment for a school aide, parent coordinator or paraprofessional, conclude with: “You are hereby suspended without pay until (insert date) OR terminated effective today.”)

(If you do not substantiate corporal punishment, but you find the employee exercised poor judgment conclude with: “Although I do not find that the above act rises to the level of corporal punishment, I conclude that you exercised poor judgment when you (state what the action was, e.g. “you said ‘you are a twit’ in front of your class.” When appropriate, include, “If you have difficulty in managing your class, please consult a supervisor who will provide you with professional development to improve your classroom management skills.”)


(Name), Principal (School)

I have received a copy of this letter and understand that it will be placed in my official file.

Employee Name


Attachment: Witness Statements, Privacy Acknowledgment, School Policy Manual


Anonymous said...


I wonder whether filling in the blanks in a template letter developed by the Office of Labor Relations, without attributing the source, would be considered plagiarism.

What do you think?

Long Island Educator said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Moriah, is there some E-mail address where I can contact you privately? I have developed a template for a teacher response letter.

Long Island Educator said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chaz said...

I agree with LI educator. I would love to see a template teacher response.

Anonymous said...

Long Island Educator and Chaz, I don't really want Tweed or CSA types coming across it and developing their own counterattack. There's quite enough going on already among the Office of Labor Relations, the Teacher Performance Unit, the Leadership Academy, and the CSA in terms of training supervisors how to denigrate teachers in writing.

I think Moriah will find my ideas useful, and I encourage her to try them out. If she later wants to post a filled-in reply letter here, a template letter, or both, then that will be her decision.

Anonymous said...

Moriah, have you ever filed any Freedom of Information Law requests with the Department of Education's Records Access Officer?

There are probably many categories of records generated by, and received by, your school's administration that you would find useful.

moriah said...

Anon March 1

If this is plagiarism, then we’re all being encouraged to plagiarize when they want us to teach according to scripts.

Long Island Educator,

Thanks for the checklist. This is good legal advice, but if I had followed it, I never would have started this blog. As you can see from my other posts, my responses in writing are usually fairly logical. This is the first letter in which I showed emotion. I probably should have written it differently, but I don’t think that letter in and of itself will decide the outcome of a 3020a hearing. The whole 3020a process is flawed and biased against the teacher. I don’t think I will get justice. I think what is more important is that the blog shows an escalation of mobbing behavior on the part of the principal and the administrators. Eventually it will become a book, and I will judged in the court of public opinion.

Anon March 2 10:10 and 3:05

I haven’t linked this blog with an e-mail. This may change in the future. But for now, I am still relatively anonymous, and prefer to stay that way.

I would like to see your template. Therefore, I encourage you to publish it or e-mail it to one of the other bloggers who can be contacted by e-mail.

Anon March 2 4:32

I don’t know exactly what I would be looking for if I filed a freedom of information law request. Could you give examples?

Anonymous said...

Moriah, this letter should provide a clue as to what to request under FOIL: