Saturday, May 30, 2009

40 Minute Recap

I’m going to stop the tape here and do some behind-the-scenes commentary.

First of all, why talk to this guy at all? He’s the investigator, let him build his case on faulty testimony that he doesn’t bother to verify. Then, at a 3020a hearing, take it all apart, one loose screw at a time and watch them all squirm.

I would then be playing a legal game in which I use the strategies of secrecy and delay. The problem is that Bloomberg has million-dollar lawyers and I will have a UFT lawyer at some point, months from now. Right now, all I have is a UFT ADVOCATE, who is NOT a lawyer. If I choose to hire an outside lawyer, I could ultimately pay almost 100,000 dollars to go through the entire process, including all appeals. And no one else will benefit from my experience while I’m going through it, because my lawyer would insist that I maintain confidentiality.

Where can I go to find a transcript of someone’s OSI Investigatory Hearing? What book can I buy? The DOE million dollar lawyer boys have transcript after transcript, and can learn from their mistakes. Most teachers who walk into a hearing have never been involved in a criminal investigation, and are clueless about interrogation techniques. They--We are like lambs going to the slaughter.

I was told that the UFT RULEis this: Talk to OSI investigators, but NEVER talk to an SCI investigator. SCI stands for Special Commissioner of Investigations and only investigates serious criminal charges. You REALLY need a lawyer if they start asking you questions.

So now I’m confused. I am at an OSI hearing, but the Hearing Officer, Hayden Sands, says 7 minutes and 21 seconds into the hearing that “on 1/23/09 Principal P. from IS 666Q called in to SCI, that’s Special Commissioner’s Office, the old Ed Stanzik’s office with allegations of misconduct against a teacher, MORIAH UNTAMED.” He said it so fast that I barely noticed this reference to SCI until I started typing out the transcript. Now is this an OSI investigation or a SCI investigation? And why did PRINCIPAL P. call it into SCI and not OSI? And WHY didn’t my ADVOCATE stop the hearing at this point and ask this very same question?

Sun is shining, it’s a beautiful day. I’m going to take a break and get some fresh air.


Friday, May 29, 2009



HO: Did you say that the boys were sexually harassing MADELENE?

Me: No I said that she was complaining about boys teasing her.

HO: OK, being bothered in the classroom, teasing. So it wasn’t a sexual complaint.

Me: She was being bothered, being teased by them.

HO: So no sexual complaint

Me: No I don’t think I used the word sexual, but again that was back on October 24.


HO: Because the sexual complaint raises the bar a little bit. So that’s why I need to know if you said it or not. Whether we’re talking about you saying just the teasing back and forth, banter between kids, you know mean-spirited stuff or are we talking about..

Me: If I said sexual at all, I just said she was being teased and that the mother should—actually I don’t think I used the word sexual at all. She was just being harassed. Harassed might have been the word I used, but it wasn’t sex. It was just being bothered, harassed, but not sexual harassment.

HO: teased, but no sexual harassment.

Me: No not as far as touching--that would give her the idea that she was being fondled or something like that but just being teased.

HO: What about verbal sexual harasssment?

Me: From what she wrote, she was being called a cow, so I don’t know if that’s verbal sexual harassment or not, that’s just teasing.

HO: Yeah, calling somebody a cow is not sexual in and of itself. But no sexual harassment, verbal or touching touching or verbal sexual harassment.

Me: If anything, the boys said she called them gay and would never be able to get a girlfriend, so it anything is sexual harassment, that is. But that’s also on the level of teasing.


HO: Did you tell the mom that?

Me: No, I told her to talk to her. I told her about difficulties she was having with boys in the class. There was a back and forth and that she should talk about what they were saying to her and what she was saying to them. That’s all.

HO: …talk to her regarding her comments..

Me: No, her….

HO: I’m trying to word it the way you want me to …

Me: No, it was an exchange of insults, really. They called her a cow, she called them gay.. I didn’t really say what they called her, because it was up to MADELENE.

HO; Ok, regarding her back and forth insults with the boys, is that OK? I want to put down what you want me to put down…so it was an exchange of insults. I’m trying to word it the way you want me to.

ADV: I note that she was having some trouble with some boys and that there was an exchange of insults and you specifically said you didn’t say the word sexual….

Me: I didn’t use the word sexual at all because that’s incendiary. The mother could come in screaming.


ADV: Let me see if I ‘ve got this right. You never specifically named SILAS PAJECO.

HO: Ok what MADELENE is saying that you told the mom that SILAS PAJECO made sexual comments to her. The mom calls her to the room and asks her if this were true and she stated that it wasn’t true while you allegedly were on the phone with the Mom—this is according to MADELENE and that you told the mom…


ADV: This is what the principal was saying?

HO: No this is what MADELENE was saying.

ADV: Who is MADELENE saying this to?

HO: To me, during an interview with MADELENE. MADELENE said that you had called MADELENE’S mom and stated that SILAS PAJECO made sexual comments about MADELENE or to MADELENE not even about MADELENE but to MADELENE


ADV: You’re interviewing MADELENE and MADELENE is telling you that the Mom…

HO: that MS UNTAMED called MADELENE’S home…

ADV: OK, got it. Ms. UNTAMED called MADELENE’S home…

HO: and during the conversation, stated to the mom that SILAS PAJECO made sexual comments to MADELENE. MADELENE says that her mom at that point calls MADELENE into the room while still on the phone and asks her if it was true and MADELENE stated that it was not true.


ADV: Ok just hold on a second, so the mom is on the phone with MS UNTAMED and she says MADELENE come here a minute, did SILAS PAJECO do any sexual harassing against you? Or something like that?


HO: …and MADELENE says no. Then she says that you had told the mom that it was true and that the mom should come up to the school and complain about SILAS PAJECO.


ADV: And this is what MADELENE’S telling you.

HO: Yes

ADV: That during the conversation the mom is saying to MADELENE that MS UNTAMED wants her to come up to school to see about it.


Me: First of all it was four boys. I couldn’t blame just SILAS because there was four boys and again I didn’t write this down right away and I didn’t record it in any way shape or form so I’m saying what I would do today after almost 30 years of teaching. If the mother called her in and said “did some boys insult you or use bad language to you?” and then MADELENE says," no mom, that didn’t happen”. I then would say, "oh yes it did". What I would have said was not that the child was lying to me, but that it was probable that maybe she didn’t want to talk about it right now, and that maybe she should talk about it at more length with the daughter. So just make sure that that was the real story. Because I had heard them say some things to MADELENE. I had heard the word “cow” for instance. I had heard them call her a cow. I might have insisted that yes I did hear one thing but I didn’t hear some of the other things that MADELENE said she was being called. It was up to MADELENE to say those things because I hadn’t heard them. I couldn’t be a witness to sexual harassment if all I heard was that they were calling her a cow.

HO: That was the only thing you heard them calling her that you can remember?

Me: The only thing that I heard them call loud enough to her was that they were calling her a cow and otherwise, what she said they were calling her. What she came up to me and said that they said to her was that she had big breasts or something like that, but I’m not quite sure.

HO: Did she verbally say this or did she write it down?

Me: I’d have to check that. I have to check that to see. If it was written or just verbal. But again, when I confronted the boys, they were saying that she was saying that they were gay and would never get a girlfriend so it was basically up to her. You know, I’ll have to go back and see if she actually wrote it down or I wrote it down somewhere.


HO: Would you have kept it if she wrote it down somewhere?

Me: I would have kept it. And I would have written it down somewhere. All I can remember is the cow thing because I actually heard it.


HO: This happened on or around November 16, the call...

Me: November 16th?

HO: On or around November 16th, the call to her home. Looks like a weekend. Looks like a Sunday.

Me: It could be that I waited that long, I don’t know because it was on October 24 is when I was talking to the boys. Maybe I gave the Dean’s Referral… It would have been more logical to call her right away closer…

HO: Do you remember in the conversation MADELENE being asked by her mother on the phone, hey are these boys bothering you or whatever and she

Me: I can’t remember right away I can’t remember that phone call but parents often do.

HO: If you don’t remember…

Me: It’s standard procedure for a parent to say come over here, your teacher’s on the phone.

ADV: What was the date of that phone call?

HO: On or about Nov. 16

Me: Nov. 16?

ADV: On or about. Thank you

Me: That seems awfully late. I would have to check up on that date. It sounds too late.

ADV: Who’s saying that the phone call was made on or about Nov. 16?


ADV: Well she might be mistaken. That's MADELENE'S recollection.

Me: So she’s going to remember the exact date?

HO: Well it was on a Sunday.

Me: Yeah, it was a weekend definitely.

HO: SOREA BENDERS stated that in Nov 2008. The weekend before the parent-teacher conference. So that’s how we were able.. the weekend before the parent-teacher conferences. Now the parent conference was on Nov. 18 which you weren’t present, right?

Me: Yes I was present,

ADV: I have here that you were not present during the conference.

Me: Yes I was present during the afternoon, but I got ill and left and wasn’t present at night.

HO: Oh, the night one, OK.

Me: Now this.. no that can’t be the date, because the principal had me removed a week before the parent teacher conference and so um...

HO: for what reason?

Me: Based on some allegation that I’m sure is there somewhere. But I didn’t talk to any parents after that week.

HO: No what I’m saying is…just to ascertain the approximate time of the phone call to MADELENE’S home.

Me: Yeah, but that’s the thing. The week before the parent-teacher conference..

HO: No this was the weekend before.

Me: Yes but the week before the parent teacher conferences I was pulled out of the classroom and told not to talk to the students or the parents. I was put on detention in the basement.


Me: and so that would not be a time when I would be talking to a parent.

HO: So when do you say you called

Me: well, very close to October 24. October 31 was the end of the marking period, so the logical time to be talking about any problems that MADELENE might have was before the end of the marking period.

HO: Ok so its safe to say that from what time on you were told not to speak to any students or parents… from October then, right?

Me: No, the week before Nov 16th . Then I was told that I was going to be back in the classroom the next Monday. Was that the parent teacher conference? I don’t know.

HO The week before Nov 16 2008 you were told by who?

Me: I was pulled out of the classroom.

HO: yes but you were told by who



HO: you were told by PRINCIPAL P. that you could not speak to any students or parents pending an investigation?

Me: Yeah, but then that Friday, I was told I was going back to the classroom, so I suppose that now I had permission to talk to parents and students, but that was way too late. That’s not when I would have talked to her.

ADV: You think it would have been earlier.

Me: Yeah, it would have been right after that letter, right after that meeting with the boys.

HO: pending an investigation, right.

ADV. Yes. It makes sense that it would be right after the meeting with the boys.

Me: It would be the end of October or the first week of November. It wouldn’t have been this late after I was already pulled out, and disciplined.

HO: The parent that I spoke to independently stated that um you had called and stated that a boy, SILAS PAJECO told the daughter she has big buttocks and big breasts and that the teacher told her that she should file a complaint, told the parent, but the daughter denied the allegation.


ADV: Spoke to the parent and the parent said that MS UNTAMED when she called, during that controversial phone call OSI, told her that SILAS PAJECO…um


HO: MS UNTAMED told her that SILAS PAJECO told her daughter that she has big buttocks and big breasts. Does that ring a bell?

Me: Yeah, the big breasts—that’s where cow comes from.

HO There’s a difference between cow and big breasts, though

Me: I know, I know, but I only heard cow and so…

HO: So this is not accurate what the parent is saying.

Me: I might have said that MADELENE told me, but I would have to look at the little note she gave me. I didn’t bring it. It’s not signed or dated, not legal, so the big breast thing… If MADELENE was denying it, I might have said to the mother, well listen, this is what MADELENE told me now check and see if that’s still her story. It’s possible. If MADELENE is saying to help me the boys are calling me this, telling me that, then I might have said to the mother check with your daughter. She checks with her daughter, her daughter says no. Now I’ve gone to the trouble of supporting this girl which she told me something so then I told her, I might have told the mother exactly what the girl told me. The big breasts sounds like something I could have said if MADELENE told me. If that’s what MADELENE told me.

HO: But you don’t remember what MADELENE told you.


Me: If MADELENE didn’t say it to me, I didn’t say it to the mother. If MADELENE told me that, then I said it. This was back on October 24.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

OSI HEARING: Surprise Letter

I have spent the last several weeks transcribing my OSI Hearing from a digital tape recording. That’s right, I recorded every last word. I was going to hold off on publishing it, because I take great joy in catching “investigators” in lies. However, I have decided that I will take much more joy in publishing the complete hearing for all to read.

Warning: I am making up new aliases for the students involved in the charges because I have found myself forgetting which old alias belongs to whom. I have also found that I have been inconsistent with some aliases. This shouldn’t be a problem for those who are new to the blog, but might be confusing to those who have been reading it for some time.

For this post, I am starting the transcript 07:23 minutes into the hearing and ending it at 21:51 minutes. At regular points in the hearing, I will include how much time has passed in the hearing.



HEARING OFFICER: OK, there were two cases, and I will explain them to you. On 1/23/09 PRINCIPAL P. from IS666Q called in to SCI, that’s Special Commissioner’s Office, the old Ed Stanzik’s office with allegations of misconduct against a teacher, MORIAH UNTAMED. SOREA BENDERS, mother of student MADELENE BENDERS, reported that you told another student…you told her that another student was sexually harassing her daughter, and wanted to meet with her at a diner to discuss the matter. Ms BENDERS then stated that the daughter denied that the student was harassing her and preferred to meet with you in school. OK?

UNION ADVOCATE: Do you mind saying that again?


HO: Ok, SOREA BENDERS, the mother of MADELENE BENDERS—(to me) MADELENE BENDERS is a student at the school? Ok SOREA is alleging that MS. MORIAH told another stu… told SOREA that another student was sexually harassing her daughter, MADELENE. But MADELENE is denying that it took place.

ADV: …another student was sexually harassing MADELENE?

HO: Right a male student is allegedly sexually harassing, MADELENE.


Me: What was the date?

HO: 1/23/09

Me: Ok and so SOREA BENDERS, when did she call?

UNION ADVOCATE: SOREA BENDERS, mother of MADELENE, alleges that another student told her, SOREA, that another student is sexually harassing MADELENE, her daughter.


Silence as we take notes.


HR: What Principal P. sent in,: “ I am reporting teacher misconduct. MORIAH UNTAMED, a science teacher at IS666, bla, bla, bla, bla, called a parent, SOREA BENDERS, and reported that another student,SILAS PAJECO/ was constantly sexually harassing her daughter, MADELENE BENDERS.

ADV: What I don’t have is that MS. UNTAMED called SOREA to tell the mother that another student told her, MS UNTAMED, that a male student is harassing MADELENE, her daughter.

HO: No. SOREA received a phone call allegedly from MS UNTAMED saying that, giving her a heads up that your daughter is being sexually harassed by PAJECO.

ADV: Right, got it.

HO: When SOREA questions MADELENE, the alleged victim in this case, MADELENE says, no I’m not being sexually harassed by PAJECO, SILAS. That’s about right?

ADV: And MADLENE’S telling this to the mother.

Me: and we think this was in January?

HO: Let me see. This was when it was reported. When the parent, SOREA BENDERS, questioned her daughter, MADELENE BENDERS, her daughter reported to her that SILAS was not sexually harassing her. “I spoke to the daughter, MADELENE BENDERS” (not me, but PRINCIPAL P.. This is what PRINCIPAL P is writing) and she reported to me that SILAS PAJECO had not been sexually harassing her and that they do not even speak to each other in science class. The mother also reported to me that MS UNTAMED requested that she meet with her in a diner, and not in school. The parent refused to meet with her anywhere but in school. The parent has been calling to set up an appointment in the school, but MS. UNTAMED has not returned her phone calls. SILAS PAJECO is a student that mother had a meeting with the assistant principal regarding MS UNTAMED’S teaching and behavior toward her child.

ADV: Sorry, which parent?

HO: SILAS PAJECO is a student. The mother of SILAS PAJECO allegedly had a meeting with the assistant principal concerning MS MORIAH’S teaching and behavior towards SILAS. MS MORIAH never reported the sexual harassment allegation to anyone, as far as staff members or to her specifically, as far as to any school officials. Alright?

ADV: Got it.

HO: Just regarding the initial allegation. How does this sound?


Me: This is regarding a conversation I had with the mother shortly after I wrote this REERRAL. ( I start looking for the REFERRAL)

HO You can just tell me.

Me: Well, I wrote it down and I made a copy for you. I reported it to the dean.

HO To the dean?

Me: Yeah. It took place probably on the first weekend after October 24. It’s a weekend around October 24. That’s when the phone call took place.

(I find the REFERRAL and hand it to the HEARING OFFICER. He scans it quickly)

Student: Silas Pajeco Date: October 24, 2008
Teacher: Moriah Untamed Time: 3:00-3:45

After school detention with four boys: Jarel Lansin, Alan Pleet, Silas Pajeco, Howard Mahan.

I held these four boys after school for detention because I wanted to let them know what they had to do to get a better grade for the second marking period:

1. Keep up with their homework. Make up missing homework
2. Maintain science journal. Bring it to every class.
3. Stay on task and cooperate to finish the assignment during independent group work.
4. Stop talking and making noise during whole group instruction.
5. Stop communicating with people from other groups during independent group work.
6. Stop yelling and screaming. Keep appropriate voice level for group work.
7. Stop yelling insults like “cow” and “cheeseburger” to other students in the classroom.
8. Stop making inappropriate comments about other people’s bodies or body parts.
9. Stop arguing with the teacher when she gives them directions.
10. Take care of materials: Stop throwing books, rocks, or other materials on the floor. Stop ripping and/or drawing graffiti on station task cards.

In response,

1. Howard Mahan said that I was a liar.
2. Silas Pajeco said that they could say things about me too, and there were four of them and only one of me, so they would be believed and I would not.
3. Silas Pajeco said that all his friends in the class would back him up and no one would back me up.

I am very concerned about the responses of both boys. However, I am especially concerned about the statements of Silas Pajeco, because I feel that he was threatening me and that this constitutes an attempt to intimate the teacher into giving him a passing grade even though he is failing.

Moriah, Untamed

HO: Do you want me to have this? OK. I’ll put this with the case. Did you have a conversation, --did you contact SOREA BENDERS?

Me: Yes.

HO: Did you say that SILAS PAJECO was sexually harassing MADELENE?

Me: No, I talked at length with her about what MADELENE was doing as far as her grades. Her grade was somewhat low and she had questions for me about how I graded the homework and the journal, so it was…

HO: OK, and spoke at length regarding her classroom performance, safe to say, academics,

Me: …Why she was getting the grade she was getting. Or why she got the grade she got. October 31 was the end of the marking period.

HO: Ok classroom performance, academics, I’m going to put classroom performance. That covers the spectrum fairly, right? Did you discuss SILAS PAJECO sexually harassing her?

Me: I didn’t say it was SILAS PAJECO. I said that she was being bothered by some kids, some of the boys. I told her to talk to her daughter, about the fact that she was being bothered by some of the boys. I didn’t name them. I didn’t name them because it was up to MADELENE to name one or more. MADELENE had complained that they had called her a cow… that they…that’s what I remember.

HO: She complained to you?

Me: Yes, she complained to me and she wrote it down on a piece of paper. She complained that “they’re calling me a cow” and something else. I forget. And then the boys in that meeting said that she called them gay and that she had said that they would never be able to get a girlfriend. And so it seemed to me that it had gone back and forth.

HO: Ok, so you’re talking fast, and I want to be able to write some of this stuff down. OK. So far I wrote that you called SOREA BENDERS and talked to her at length regarding classroom performance of MADELENE. You stated that MADELENE was being bothered …?


Me: …that MADELENE said that she was being bothered by some boys, and that she should talk to MADELENE about it, to see if she wanted to come to school to make any kind of complaint.

HO: OK. So you stated that…

Me: and this is from memory from back in October of 2008. Basically that was what the conversation was, you know, not…

HO: …told by MADLENE that she was being bothered by…

Me:… some boys in the class one or more boys—I can’t remember the exact words from back in October 24, but it was four boys, and I probably would have said more than one and I wouldn’t have named SILAS PATECO because that would just…


HO: OK you never named SILAS PAJECO.


HO: I believe that’s his name. That’s what you have here. So you never named SILAS PAJECO as sexually harassing MADELENE?


Me: Not precisely, no. Not his name, no.

HO: Did you say that the boys were sexually harassing MADELENE?

Me: No I said that she was complaining about boys teasing her.

HO: OK, being bothered in the classroom, teasing.

Me: She was being bothered, She was being teased by them.

HO: So no sexual complaint.

Me: No I don’t think I used the word sexual, but again that was back on October 24.



Saturday, May 9, 2009

OSI HEARING: The right to a free and equal education

As I mentioned in my last post, I began my OSI hearing by giving the hearing officer, Hayden Sands, two letters. This is the second one.

December 7, 2008

District XX

RE: Principal P, Intermediate School 666

Dear Superintendent,

My name is Moriah, and I am a science teacher at I.S. 666 in My Neighborhood, NY. I have taught science to middle school students since 1985. I began teaching at IS 666 in the year 2000 under Principal Experienced Educator. I have been a resident of My Neighborhood for thirty years.

Until the 2006-2007 school year, I had always received Satisfactory ratings from my supervisors. In June of that year, Principal P. gave me an Unsatisfactory rating based on lesson presentation and planning. I was initially shocked and hurt by the rating. However, as I looked through my students’ science journals and lab reports, I realized that the student work in conjunction with my lesson plans would provide more than sufficient evidence of my professional competence if I had to defend myself at a hearing.

Principal P. obviously came to the same conclusion, because toward the middle of the 2007-2008 school year she began to encourage students to write negative statements against me in an effort to fabricate additional charges . These statements were all taken without the knowledge or consent of the students’ parents. Sometimes they were taken as a whole-group writing exercise during another class. I had to sign agreements to refrain from discussing these statements with anyone, but the students observed no such rule. Rumor and gossip ran wild to the effect that I was going to be fired. This gossip also spread beyond the school walls into the neighborhood where I live. The whole process significantly weakened my authority in the classroom, and my ability to maintain a positive relationship with the parents (who are also my neighbors).

Principal P. renewed her attacks on my professional and personal reputation as soon as school opened in September, 2008 by encouraging students to make false and/or frivolous allegations against me. Throughout September and October she had students writing negative statements in large group settings. This encouraged a witch-hunt, lynch-mob mentality in which few children felt comfortable going against the crowd by writing a positive statement. My authority was steadily undermined until certain students began to openly engage in unruly, rebellious, and unsafe behavior. Finally, after continuous solicitation of negative statements from students, Principal P. pulled me out of the classroom and had me sit in the basement from November 10 through November 14 pending one of her investigations. The whole faculty and student body were aware that I had been taken out of the classroom and isolated. Students ran around the building saying that I had been fired. The next week I was dumped back into the classroom with no explanation as to why I had been pulled out and with no support from faculty or administration amid worsening behavior by students.

Perhaps you don’t care if a teacher is abused. However, I would like to point out that my students cannot learn science and help Principal bring me up on charges at the same time. These are mutually exclusive activities. Principal P. is denying my students the right to an education by involving them in her campaign to destroy my teaching career. She is therefore violating my students’ civil and human rights to a free and equal education. She is also undermining their moral development by encouraging them to give false testimony.

I cannot continue to sit and wait for the legal process to take its course, because I am not the only one being abused. I am legally mandated to report any situation in which I believe that children are being abused.

I therefore report that Principal P. is abusing children by undermining their education and encouraging them to make false statements.


Moriah Untamed
Science Teacher
I.S. 666

I think both these letters are extremely clear.


What kind of citizens will these children grow up to be?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

OSI HEARING: Should old acquaintance be forgot

A week ago today I had a hearing at the Office of Special Investigations. The Special Investigator was none other than Hayden Sands, the same guy that had rubber stamped Principal P.'s accusations against my colleague, Adila.

Back in 2006 I had written him a letter offering to serve as a witness in the case. He upheld the principal's version of the story without ever getting back to me. As far as I was concerned, he had shown bias against Adila, so I couldn't expect him to be fair toward me. I asked the union for another investigator, but they told me they don't get to pick the hearing officer.

Should I pretend that I never wrote him the letter? Now it was I who was biased against him. Would I be able to hide how much I distrusted him? Probably not.

As soon as we sat down, I said, "I made prior contact with you about another case. I want to bring this letter to your attention before we start."

He read the letter, and then said, "This was back in 2006. Were you a witness to this?"

"I was a witness to the fact that the bathrooms were locked for the first and last ten minutes of the period", I replied.

He didn't know what to say, and I didn't push it. I had another letter for him to read, which will appear in my next post.