TIME INTO HEARING 21:27 MINUTES
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.
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?
HO : MADELENE
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
Me: PRINCIPAL P.
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.
Have you read Kafka?
If you have a NYSUT (UFT) lawyer with a sense of humor and an evil streak they could make this whole avenue of investigation (and entire case) look silly with off-the-wall questions for the investigator while under oath:
Did Moriah say the cow was gay? Did she say the mother said the cow was gay? How do you know if a cow is gay? Wouldn't they be lesbian cows?
Do cows have breasts or udders?
"So this lady said that Moriah said that the daughter said the boys said cows but you say the mother said moriah said the boys said there was this cow but the mother said the daughter said no, not cows?...what!!"
This is so pointless it is sad. They are probably trying to prove something that is not an offense. This happens. In reality your arbitrator may very well think it is a good thing that teachers call parents with their concerns.
I know of at least one UFT lawyer who has that precise sense of humor! And on that note, I would not say that they (UFY/NYSUT attorneys)are not good at their job. As long as you make it clear repeatedly that you are not looking for a settlement AT ALL (because you "know it is strike one and strike two") they are uniformly excellent at cross examining witnesses. In fact, if independent investigations and a tendency to encourage settlement and secrecy are their weaknesses, cross examination is a strength. Your issues (as i understand them) cry out for serious (and eviscerating)cross examination. Then a motion to dismiss for failure to establish a scintilla of a case. You can even script the questions to a certain extent and they will take your advice.
At the risk of giving too much advice, the more neatly typed responses you have to the frivolous charges and the more suggested cross examination questions to the charges you have the more organized and together you look and the more the UFT lawyer is likely to believe you and fight like the dickens for you.
They see BS cases all the time.
Anon 10:15, You can't make this stuff up...unless you're Kafka. I now wonder where he got his ideas for "The Trial". Could he or someone he knew have gone through a similar experience?
Too bad I'm not a comedian. This could be woven into a great comedy skit. Who's on first? He said that she said that they said that we said.
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