Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bathroom Emergencies


Sept. 17, 2008

Mr. Zippo:

This letter is in reply to your letter dated September 12, 2008 which was given to me today, September, 17 2008.

On Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 3:00 PM, you met with me and my union representative, Mr. Clyde Baker, in your office, room 304, to discuss my actions and behavior; your actions and behavior; and the actions and behavior of Principal P during the opening week staff organizational meeting on Friday, August 29, 2008.

During our conversation you showed me a Power Point handout presented and distributed at the aforementioned meeting. You attached a copy of the Power Point handout to your letter. I have numbered each Power Point slide from 1 to 17 for easier reference.

You state in your letter that “We agreed that you had asked several questions and made comments regarding the student bathroom policy and Chancellor’s Regulations regarding Corporal Punishment and Verbal Abuse.

This is a false statement.

When you reached slide number 10, “Hallway/Bathroom Passes”, Mr. Clyde Baker raised his hand and asked a question. He asked if the bathrooms would be locked during passing. You replied that they would be locked. I then raised my hand. You called on me by name, giving me permission to speak. I commented that several years ago a child had soiled himself because he had not been able to reach a bathroom because the bathrooms were all locked during passing, and during the first and last ten minutes of each period. A teacher had been blamed for the incident, had been brought up on charges, and had been removed from the school. My question was: How can I avoid being brought up on charges, like my colleague, Adila Hassan? The rules remain the same. The bathrooms are locked at certain times, and we are being asked to limit the use of passes. I am not a mind-reader, and don’t know if a child has an emergency unless he or she tells me; I also don’t know if it is a real emergency. If it truly is a real emergency, then the child might not have time to wait for a pass to be written out. It has been my policy, after Ms. Hassan was brought up on charges, to allow children who say that they have an emergency to leave the classroom without a pass. You agreed that this might be necessary, and I was satisfied that I had permission to continue with this policy, and said nothing further about Ms. Hassan or bathroom passes.

There was a total of two questions asked about bathroom and hall passes: One from Mr. Baker, and one from me. The total question and answer time regarding bathroom passes was less than five minutes.

After my comment about Ms. Hassan’s case, you appeared agitated. You said that there was very little time left and there should be no more questions or comments during the meeting. All questions and comments should be made in private and not in the public forum of the faculty meeting.

I had no more questions until you reached slide 15, “Verbal Abuse”, Chancellors Regulations A-421.”

You read from the behaviors which could cause a teacher to be reported immediately online to the Office of Special Investigations.

1. Language that tends to cause fear or physical or mental distress.
2. Language that includes words denoting racial, ethnic, religious, gender, disability, or sexual orientation which tends to cause fear or physical or mental distress.
3. Language that tends to threaten physical harm.
4. Language that tends to belittle or subject students to ridicule.

I raised my hand. You and Principal P repeated that you did not have time for teachers to ask questions. I asked: Are you sure that we do not have time to discuss questions about a regulation that could end a teacher’s career?

Principal P came over to me and told me to stop talking immediately. I said nothing more to you or to her until our meeting of Sept. 11, 2008.

The total of time in which you allowed questions from teachers during the faculty meeting was less than five minutes.

You say that I asked questions about Verbal abuse. What were they? You never heard them. You never allowed me to ask them, and I did not bother to ask them in a private meeting, because these are questions that should be addressed in public, not in private. Chancellor’s Regulations on Corporal Punishment, and Verbal Abuse can result in the destruction of a teacher’s career. If anyone has questions, they should be heard. Time should be allowed for questions, comments, and discussion during staff meetings on serious issues such as these.

In your letter, you state: “…therefore you continued to ask questions and make comments at the meeting after repeated requests to refrain.”

This is a false statement.

You and Principal P appeared very agitated when I referred to Ms. Hassan’s case. Perhaps it seemed to you that the exchange was longer than it really was. However, my questions and comments about bathroom passes were made with your permission, and were short and to the point. What is more, as Mr. Baker stated in our meeting, all teachers need to understand how to operate within your rules so as not to cause harm to children and/or lose their jobs. The only other question that I asked was: Are you sure that we do not have time to ask questions about a Regulation that can cause a teacher to be dismissed?

I asked no further questions because I was ordered to stop speaking by you and by Principal P.

You stated: “I reminded you that despite repeated directives from the administration, you continued to interrupt the meeting and call out.”

This is a false statement.

I asked one question with permission, and you gave me an answer that satisfied that question.

I called out one other question: Are sure that we do not have time to address a Regulation that could end a teacher’s career?

You state in your letter that you asked me why I had continued to interrupt the meeting and call out.

Your question was based on a false premise. I had not continued to interrupt the meeting and call out. There were no questions before slide 10. There was a short question and answer session after slide 10—totaling less than 5 minutes. And there was one question after slide 15 “Are you sure we don’t have time for questions about a regulation that can end a teacher’s career”?

There was no continued calling out. There was no continued interruptions. These are false statements.

You state that “your behavior at the meeting on August 29, 2008, constituted insubordination when you disobeyed the administration’s repeated direction to hold additional comments for a later time, and disrupted the meeting by repetitively calling out.”

This is a false statement.

My questions about bathroom policy were concise and to the point. There was no repetition. They were made with permission.

My question: Are you sure that there is not enough time for questions?” was not repetitive, was not disruptive, was not insubordinate, was not disobedient.

On the contrary, your refusal to allow time for appropriate questions and comments from staff during a staff meeting shows that the administration of I.S. 666 insists on one-way, top-down communication, and does not welcome, but in fact punishes questions, comments and feedback from teachers and other staff members.

Moriah Untamed September 17, 2008

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