HEARING OFFICER: ALAN PLEET stated that you went to his home on Sunday about 9:00 AM and his dad woke him up and told him that his teacher was downstairs. (laughing) That’s gotta be some kind of wake up call! If this had happened when I was in school…
Me: No. I had called and made an appointment with that father.
HO: OK well, I’m just saying…according to HOWARD…(pauses to read further)
On Friday, October 7, 2008, ALAN wrote in his statement, Ms. XAVIER escorted ALAN, JORGE, and JAREL to your classroom. After Ms. XAVIER leaves, you take the three students to the back of the classroom, and ask them what did they write about you.
Me: Well, they had already threatened to write something about me, and the kids had come in that Friday saying “Change has come, change has come” and that wasn’t about the OBAMA election. It was about getting MS. UNTAMED fired.
HO: Did you pull them to the side?
Me: So I pulled them to the side and said so are you making allegations against me? Then they didn’t want to say anything, so I let them go.
HO: Was that the same day, Friday November 7, when XAVIER brought them in? You pulled them to the back?
Me: What happened first of all was that a whole bunch of kids came in yelling and screaming and saying that change has come and ALAN was going to get me fired…
HO: (interrupting )OK, OK….
Me: …so then I yelled at them because they were screaming and yelling. I yelled at them to sit down. Once they all sat down and were quiet, then the boys came in and I said, why are you late? And Ms. XAVIER brought back one, but there were a couple of others who came in too, so I don’t know if it was…. So there were a couple of kids who were late, and they were saying we’re gonna get you fired, we’re gonna get you fired. So I pulled them aside and said what is this about? Is this about what you said..that you were going to get me in trouble and blame me for something and get your friends all…
HO: Do you know which students Ms. XAVIER brought back?
Me: Well, it was one of them. It was either ALAN or JAREL…It probably wasn’t JAREL. I think he was already there screaming and yelling.
HO: OK, So Ms. XAVIER brought back a student and some other ones came in with them.
Me: Yes. Something like that…or just before… they were very excited, very disruptive. It was a really disruptive entrance.
HO: You’re saying that those students said “You’re going to be fired?”
Me: JAREL was saying something about“you’re gonna be fired,” “we’re going to get you fired” something like that.
HO: Then you took them to the back of the room and asked them discreetly…
Me: What’s this about, why were you late? It was more why were you late, and then I referred to what they had said… what they had threatened.
HO: Well you saw XAVIER bring them back.
HO: So why were you asking why they were late?
Me: Well there was one who came in, but there were others who came in late. I think they were probably hanging around. Before they came into class maybe talking, all excited, maybe they were coming up from lunch. I don’t know.
HO: So what did they say when you asked them why they were late?
Me: They were saying ALAN’s going to get you fired, something like that. But they were all just screaming and yelling. Some came in screaming and yelling, I got them to sit down. Others came in a little later, I got them to sit down.
HO: Did XAVIER bring someone in?
Me: Only one, I believe, ALAN.
HO: But you understood that the other ones were with XAVIER and then came in. Did any of them say we were with AP XAVIER?
Me: Something about Ms. XAVIER. They’re telling Ms. XAVIER, she’s going to get fired. Something like that.
ADVOCATE: Ms. XAVIER is escorting one student back to class and the others are hanging back.
Me: And they already know all about it.
ADVOCATE: That’s why they’re late, probably.
Me: Some kids are hanging back, other kids came in before them. It was kind of a trickle in.
ADVOCATE: And there was a lot of excitement, with the idea that they were going to get you fired. So its not really about you asking what…
HO: You said when you put them back there, you said, what is this about?
Me: Yeah, what is this about?
HO: Because she had previous knowledge that they were going to fabricate something against her.
ADVOCATE: Oh, not asking the whole bunch why they were so excited. It’s not really about you asking what ALAN was writing.
HO: But you said when you pulled them back there, you asked them, “What is this about?”
Me: Yeah, “What is this about”?
HO: Because she had previous knowledge that they were going to fabricate something against her.
ADV: Oh. Not just asking the whole bunch, why are you so excited.
Me: No, no, the boys that had threatened me I pulled them aside,..but ALAN, I didn’t because XAVIER brought him in so he probably just sat down.
HO: The three said that they could not tell you because Ms. XAVIER told them not to reveal what was said. You continued to tell them that they could say, and they said that they couldn’t, and you said, if you don’t tell me I will come to your house and that’s when JORGE started to cry. While at the house you mentioned a student named SILAS to ALAN’s father and told the father that SILAS and HOWARD were threatening that if she did not raise their grades. If you didn’t raise their grades, they would report you to the principal.
Me: We discussed that they had threatened to get me in trouble.
Me: I don’t know what the “if” was. I had given them a whole list of things they had to do, and they basically said that if I failed them, if I didn’t give them good grades…
HO: ALAN saw HOWARD poking MADELENE on the shoulder. HOWARD appeared to need something. MADELENE stated who’s poking me? Ms. UNTAMED stated, I think you’re used to boys touching you—not quoted but something to that effect.
(Pause while reading)
ADV: You said that you didn’t say…
HO: Did you ever ask any female students in the classroom to write a statement about whether you made any inappropriate statements in the class?
HO: To MADELENE, any inappropriate statements to MADELENE.
HO OK. And who were they?
Me: Um. At this point it’s hard for me to even remember their names, it’s been so long.
HO: Did they submit those statements to you?
HO: Do you have them?
Me: No. (not with me)
HO: You’re holding onto them like some trump cards?
Me: uh huh
HO OK, I guess we’re all playing cards at this table. When are they coming out. Let me just say this, don’t hold onto the trump cards too long. You know what happens when you’re caught with the trump cards in your hand.
Me: No I don’t play cards.
HO The game is over. Listen, you want to use your trump cards while the game is going on, ok not when the game is over.
Me: Well, I was also accused in one of PRINCIPAL P.’s letters that I had asked them to write the letters and that they had felt forced to.
ADVOCATE: That’s what Ms. PRINCIPAL P.’s alleging.
Me: I don’t know if there are any statements to that effect. They felt that they were victimized, by me asking them. If they did write statements I would like to see them…
But they were willing enough when I asked them, cause they were right up front. They were right near.
ADVOCATE: Because they were being bothered?
Me: Well, I asked them because the kids were screaming at me and saying that I had called MADELENE a slut, and I said to the three girls who were in front right next to MADELENE, have you ever heard me call MADELENE or anybody else a slut? And they said no, and I said would you mind writing that down.
HO: Listen. Wrong. You can’t do that. That’s tampering with an investigation. It’s not for you to do that. If the principal conducts an investigation or if I conduct an investigation—you’re the subject of the investigation…
Me: But there was no investigation, that’s when it happened.
HO: Well wait a minute. If there’s no investigation, why are you doing that, you see what I’m saying?
Me: There was no investigation that day.
HO: That you know of…
Me: They were yelling and screaming, saying you called MADELENE a slut, and so I asked three girls to write down, if they had ever heard me say anything like that, but there was no investigation going on.
HO: Listen, listen, what they are saying basically… No one’s saying that you called anyone quote unquote a slut. What they were saying basically was in the manner in which you said something about, allegedly, I’d better put allegedly in there. You allegedly said something regarding her used to being touched can be misconstrued or can be perceived that, oh, you’re used to being touched, aren’t you, something to that effect, that you indirectly called them a slut in their minds. No one’s saying that you called them a slut.
Me: Well, these are middle schoolers. I can’t control what’s going on in their minds.
HO: No one’s saying you called her a slut.
Me: Yeah, they did. The kids were yelling at me, and saying “You called MADELENE a slut”.
HO You gotta take it up. You have a problem, they’re misconstruing something, you have to take it to an AP. You take it to somebody and say listen…
Me: …Who are going to substantiate what they’re saying.
HO: Listen, listen…You’re bringing it forward. You’re a human being, you’re a teacher, we’re all people. You can say, well you know what this scenario came about in the class. This is exactly what I said. However, the students are taking it a different way. I’m sure that nobody would say that I actually called them a slut, but it was totally misunderstood, and I ‘m bringing it to the forefront and saying this is, this is what I observed, this is what happened, OK? For you to say now, oh let me..
Me: …get evidence that would corroborate
HO Correct, That’s right. Evidence when you say that a case hadn’t even existed...
Me: The case didn’t even exist yet..
HO: You’re saying that the case didn’t exist with respect to the grabbing of the hand or whatever…
Me: I’m just being proactive in trying to get my side, making sure that the facts get stated before they get twisted.
ADVOCATE: OK My notes say you didn’t say , “you should be used to being touched” you said somebody made that up.
Me: I said, “This is happening again?” HOWARD said, “you should be used to it”.
ADVOCATE; You were referring to, when you said this is happening again was that MADELENE had complained about something else and you had tried to help her and…
Me: uh, huh
ADVOCATE: …and then she retracted everything.
Me: Right. This time, I wanted her to write it down. This is what I’m saying to all of them.. write it down. Date it, sign it. Or, go to a counselor because if she didn’t want to do it right there, she should go to a counselor.
Me: and so I said the same thing to the girls up front. Did you ever hear me say slut to MADELENE?—no I didn't say the word slut-- I said did you ever hear me say something like that to MADELENE? They said no and I said, would you please write that down? And that could be wrong, I didn’t know that was wrong, but that’s what I did.