Saturday, March 7, 2009

I Swear to God

As I said in the previous post, I received two letters on Friday, March 6. This is the second one. It was written by Roy Zippo and dated February 26, 2009

Ms. Moriah,

At 8:30 AM on Friday, February 6, 2009 AM, Silas Pajeco and Howard Mahan (students in class 7B) complained to me as follows:

During period one on that date, you were arguing with class 7B, yelling at students, and stating "I swear to God, my God, and all your Gods."

I have investigated the aforementioned complaint. My investigation included my conference with you, Mr. Clyde Baker, the Chapter Chairperson and Mr. Thor Hyerdahl, Alternate Representative in my office on Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at 1:30 PM. At the conference, I shared with you the specific allegations made against you as stated above, and shared the substance of the statements of witnesses who were interviewed. I accorded you the opportunity to respond. Your responses included the following:

"I was not stating anything to the class; I was punished in the eyes of the students and removed from the class. I was saying I swear to God that it was not true. I never said that, it was so heinous; I did not make that statement. If I had a Bible I would swear on the Bible that I did not say what those boys said I said. I was swearing to God, this was not blasphemous; I was taking an oath under God. The president swears to God when taking the Oath of Office."

Mr. Baker added, "We all swear to God each day during the Pledge of Allegiance."

I asked if you had sent students to Ms. KRAMER'S room to write statements. You responded:

"I asked you if you stated to the class they "are acting like animals?" You responded:

"No I did not."

I asked if on Wednesday, February 4, 2009, you had made any statement to the class which may have been perceived as inappropriate. You responded:

"Mr. Zippo, you well know that I cannot answer that question without reading the statements."

I offered you the copies of ten student statements. You declined to sign the required Privacy Acknowledgment of Student Witness Statements, instead stating:

"Statements are not privileged and they will never be. I will discuss them with anyone I please, not just my union representative as would be if I signed a confidentiality agreement, which I will not."

Copies of ten student statements were provided to you with identifying information obscured.

I have evaluated all the investigatory results, including your responses at our meeting Tuesday, February 24, 2009.

I concluded the following:

1. Prior to my arrival at your classroom on Friday, February 6, 2009, you failed to implement instructional activities. You did not commence a lesson, or engage the class in instruction. Instead, the permitted classroom environment permitted by the teacher allowed the class to engaged students in an argument instead of a lesson. These actions are unprofessional, and constitute an unacceptable use of instructional time.

2. During the same class period, you spoke privately with MADELENE BENDERS, stating to her that on Wednesday, February 4, 2009, you did not call her a slut. She loudly disagreed with you in front of the class. This incident resulted in other students in the class arguing with you and stating that you had indeed made derogatory statements about MADELENE on Wednesday February 4, 2009. Students reported that you stated, "Oh, like any boy hasn't been touching you," and "Well, we've had this problem before."

3. During the same class period you requested three students (DAMARAS DEMAR, DASIE MARESH, CARRIE CAFRIN) to write statements that they "did not hear what you had said," and that you "did not call MADELENE a whore." These students stated that they felt they were under pressure from you and feared retaliation if they did not comply at that time.

4. During the same class period you made repeated references to "God" stating, "I swear to God I did not say that," and "I swear to all your Gods."

5. Ms.Xavier and I arrived at your classroom at approximately 8:35 AM, in response to the complaint by SILAS PAJECOO and HOWARD MAHAN. When I arrived at your classroom, you were standing in the front of the room with your arms crossed. Many students in the class were yelling at you. The class was not engaged in instructional activity. I asked "Ms. Moriah, is everything all right?" You stated, "No, everything is not alright. I am being accused by the whole class of saying something which I did not say, and do not want to repeat." Several students started to call out and reply to your statement. I asked the students to refrain from calling out and asked if there was a lesson in progress. You stated, "No there is no lesson in progress, how can I teach when the whole class is accusing me. I cannot teach when the class is accusing."

6. On Tuesday, February 24, 2009, you refused to acknowledge in writing the Privacy Acknowledgement of Student Witness Statements corresponding to ten statements relating to the incident of February 6, 2009.

The acknowledgement specifically prohibits you from the discussion of the content of the statements with the authors of the statements, and any retaliation against the authors. You are further prohibited from disclosing the identify of the writers and the substance of the statements to any person other than your Union Representative. It is noted in the acknowledgement that violation of this directive is "strictly prohibited and may result in disciplinary action including termination of employment"

Due to your refusal to sign the Privacy Acknowledgement of Student Witness Statements, you were provided with copies of the statements with identifiable information removed.

7. Your actions and statements during period one on February 6, 2009, constituted verbal abuse which is prohibited by the Chancellor's Regulation A-421 and New York State Educational Law, and which constitutes unacceptable teacher deportment.

8. Under Chancellor's Regulations and New York State Educational Law, a teacher is prohibited from using language that tends to belittle or subject students to ridicule, cause fear or mental or physical distress. Your actions during period one on Friday, February 6, 2009 subjected students to fear and mental distress.

9. As stated in my letters of January 30, 2008, March 26, 2008, you have been repeatedly directed to maintain a wholesome environment in your classroom, and refrain from committing of any act which under the Regulations and the Law, constitutes verbal abuse. Once again, yOu have failed to follow supervisory directions and act accordingly.

10. In my letter to you dated September 12, 2008 you were directed to conduct yourself in a professional manner:

"You are required to adhere to the directives of school supervisors. Your are directed to conduct yourself in a professional manner at all times on and around school property, and while conducting business related to your profession."

Once again, you failed to follow supervisory directions and act accordingly.

11. You are hereby directed to desist from referring to, or discussing with students allegations made against you, charges pending, related statements or ongoing investigations.

12. These charges may lead to further disciplinary action including an unsatisfactory rating for the year and termination of employment.

Again I wrote next to my signature, "This letter contains false and inaccurate statements. The charges have no merit. I will submit a rebuttal letter in due course.

1 comment:

FidgetyTeach said...

I don't believe that you can file for a 3020a hearing unless you are presented with a packet which clearly sites the charges that are being brought against you. You must sign for this packet which suggests within its' text that you have 10 days to file for a hearing. I received this very packet after spending six months in the rubber room. I sincerely feel for you as you are being unfairly targeted against by this warped DOE disciplinary system.