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
RE: Principal P, Intermediate School 666
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.
I think both these letters are extremely clear.
THE PRINCIPAL OF MY SCHOOL IS
A. FRAMING TEACHERS FOR CRIMES THEY DID NOT DO.
B. ENCOURAGING STUDENTS TO LIE ABOUT TEACHERS SHE DOES NOT LIKE.
What kind of citizens will these children grow up to be?