Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trash Talk

I know just how Oscar the Grouch feels.  As far as I am concerned, dumping me into the Rubber Room was like throwing me away like a piece of garbage--They didn't even bother to recycle.

So who exactly is "they"?  Well, Bloomberg and Klein,  course.  And then there was Principal  S_ _ _ _ _  T _ _ _ _  and her ASSistant Principals.  But they couldn't have done it alone.  They had to have had help. 

Hitler did not act alone.  McCarthy did not act alone.  A few teenage girls in Salem did not act alone.

Mic Check

About 200 people occupied the NYC DOE Panel for Education Policy meeting last Tuesday showing the amazing effectiveness of the mic check method used in general assemblies at Occupy Wall Street.

 I have gone to PEP meetings and have watched videos of PEP meetings and have never seen the crowd dominate to the extent that it did here.  The auditorium wasn't full.  According to the makers of the video there were only about 200 people there, but they literally blew away Walcott and his panel  as if they were dried autumn leaves.

If more people go to future PEP meetings and use the same methods, maybe the assembly can someday assert its own authority and start making its own decisions about educating New York City's children.

I wasn't there, but I recognized faces of people who have been attending PEP meetings since Klein was Chancellor.  (See Ed Notes Online and Grassroots Education Movement).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Normal New York Talk

I came to New York City in 1978 from a Western State carrying a bright shiny degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in ESL and Bilingual Education. 

"Why did you leave a nice place like that to come here?", I was asked more than once.

'There's all kinds of different people",  was my favorite reply.  "You can't find this kind of diversity anywhere else." 

That wasn't the only reason I came,  of course, but it was the only one I could give in ten words or less--which I learned was required of me if I wanted to engage in the short, staccato dialogue accepted by New Yorkers.

"Why was that guy so angry at me?" I asked one of my New Yorker friends once. 
"Why do you think he was angry?  He was normal.
"He was yelling at me!
No, he wasn't.  That's just how people talk here.

So normal conversation with a New Yorker came in short, loud staccato bursts.  And that didn't mean they were angry.  It was just normal. 

Just to clarify--I was living in Brooklyn at the time.  I found this delightful video that might give you an idea of my first taste of New York conversation.

The Rubber Room--No One Cares

I have published Jude's story and I have started  to link yesterday's blog post to as many people and organizations as possible.  I have started to write a script based on the transcript of her sanity hearing.  I can probably produce this script, even paying union scale to cast and crew for between $2000 and $5000.  As you can see, I'm already starting to work up a budget.

Now I'm going to move on to my story.  But Jude's story hasn't gone away.  This blog is only a notebook.  People can drop in and read it any time, but the blog itself will not bring about social justice.  Networking will.  Writing--both nonfiction and fiction will.

There has not been a lot of interest in my posts about Jude's story since I published yesterday --according to my blog stats.  It's a hard story to read, and the ending isn't happy.  What is more, it's old news for most people.  That's ok.

Nobody wanted to hear about the Holocaust right after World War II, either.  The Diary of Ann Frank was first published in 1947, but it didn't become a bestseller until it was released in English in 1952.  Julius and Ethel Rosenburg were executed in 1953, but their story wasn't really revisited until their own children started writing books and making documentaries.

It wasn't until 15 years after the Salem witch trials that the community recognized that mistakes were made and one of the original teenage girls who started it all made a public apology. 

Yes, I am comparing the Rubber Room and the Bloomberg Teacher Witch Hunts to a.  The Holocaust  b.  The McCarthy Witch Hunts   c.  The Salem Witch Trials

But people probably won't want to hear about it for another 5, 10 or 20 years.  It's time to start writing the books and making the movies for when that happens.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jude's Story Made Easy To Read

Jude's Story is all over the place on this blog, so I want to put it in sequential order so that I can now refer it to other people.

Occupy Wallstreet is accused of not having demands.  I can understand that.  How can you demand anything from people who have no intention of engaging in a dialogue, of listening to you, of keeping their word if they do make agreements.  I also have no demands.  What kind of demands can you make of people who would do to a person what was done to Jude?  Getting the story out is the most important thing.  Then the community can decide what to do about it.

I just ask that you please read the story and pass it on.

1.  Jude's Story, The American Dream

2.  Jude's Story, The Crime

3.  Jude's Story, Threats and Coverups

4.  Jude's Story,  Foundations

5.  Jude's Saga Continued

6.  Jude Successfully Defends Herself At Her Sanity Hearing (Part 1)

7.  Jude Successfully Defends Herself At Her Sanity Hearing (Part 2)

Jude Successfully Defends Herself At Her Sanity Hearing (Part 2)

The last two posts have been about Jude, whose story I began to tell last year.  It will be easier to understand this and the next few posts if you read them first.


Q:  Have you ever attempted suicide?

A:  Never.

Q:  Have you ever attempted to harm yourself?

A:  Never, never.

Q:  Do you have any plans to try to harm yourself?

A:  No.

Q:  Have you ever physically attempted or harmed anyone else?

A:  No, no, no, never.

Q:  Do you have any plans or desires to hurt anyone else?

A:  No.

Q:  You take care of all of your activities of daily living?

A:  Absolutely.

Q:  Do you eat well?

A:  Absolutely; too well.

Q:  Do you sleep well?

A:  Yes.  I do.

Q:  Take care of your own personal hygiene?

A:  Absolutely.

Q:  Could I ask you, you mentioned that you have some records from the school?

A:  Oh, absolutely.

Q:  Latest being 2008?

A:  Yep, yep.  I put them like from 2008 going back and I think he should—I have more though.

MR MINERVA:  Could I have this marked for identification?

THE COURT:  Yes.  Show counsel, please.

JUDE:  I have 2007, 2006.

MR. STERN:  Your Honor, at this time, saving the Court some time being preidentified, I’d object to these documents admission.

THE COURT:  The objection?

MR. STERN:  The objection is it is not certified copies of anything that it purports to be; and frankly, I don’t know its relevance at this time.

THE COURT:  I’ll keep that in mind.  I’ll look at it.

MR. MINERVA:  It is being offered to show that the school gave her an evaluation as of April of ’08 because there was a contention that she wasn’t working for the last two and a half years.

MR. STERN:  No one made that contention, Your Honor, so I’d object to it.

THE COURT:  Okay.  Just a moment.

THE PATIENT:  I have the pay stubs back at the hospital.

THE COURT:  Just a minute.  Continue.

MR. MINERVA:  Thank you.

Q:  Ms. Jude, you heard the doctor testify that C.P.S. has had some involvement with you and the children?

A:  Uh-huh.

Q.  Have your children ever been taken away from you?

A.  Absolutely not.

Q.  You also have mentioned having problems with the neighbors across the street?

A.  Absolutely.

Q.  Could you tell us about your relationship with them and what’s been going on?

A.  Well, they keep on calling out strange things to me and I don’t know them at all.  For instance, they called out that I’m a dike.  They called out that my ex-husband, that everyone knows that you found him – that he left you; everyone know he left you because you found him in bed with another man.

And they call out, they say:  Watch what we do to your daughter right in front of you, we’re going to kick her “A”.  They don’t say “A”, they say the word; for no reason.  They sit on my retaining wall and I ask them:  Could you please move?  That’s my property.  They say:  We don’t have to.  Show us the deed.

Q.  Who are these neighbors?

A.  Oh, these—they range in age from abut 17 to about the early 20’s; they’re like late teens.  The woman who lives there, who’s the mother, she doesn’t seem to have any control over her children.  They invite—I think she has three children that live there and they keep on—they’re mostly girls, they keep inviting these boys over. I counted up to 18, 19 boys.  And I’m off during the summer and I’m watching the house and they’re going in and out with the girls, in and out all day.  And then they, you know, come out with—they don’t go in the same way they come out; they come out I don’t know what’s going on across the street but I do know I’m not starting any trouble with them.  I do know that dog mess was placed on my door.  I do know my son’s bike was stolen.  I did not make a lot of calls within the last two weeks because I was in the Bahamas.  So that’s not.   I only made one call within the last month.  The call before that was like in June or something.

THE COURT:  Call to?

MS. JUDE:  To the police.  Because when Dr. Aronson stepped up, he said:  She’s made repeated calls in the last two weeks to the police about these neighbors.  And I said:  No, I didn’t, I was in the Bahamas; I wasn’t even there.

MR. MINERVA:  How long were you in the Bahamas?

MS. JUDE:  I was in the Bahamas for six days and two in Florida.

Q:  What dates were those?

A:  August – August 1st through –just came back on Saturday, whatever Saturday’s date was.

Q.  Approximately the 9th?

A.  Yeah, I think so.

Q:  Were you admitted on the 14th?

A:  I couldn’t believe it.

Q:  You also, I believe, stated or was stated by the doctor about your claim to the police of someone urinating on your rug?

A:  That was in June at the end of the school year.  What happened, I had a couple of things happen around the house so I called the police to the house and they came to the house.  They looked and there was a spot on the living room rug.  I just did my carpet last year, just have it redone.  So the police were asking me:  Could it be a dog?  I said:  Officers, you can come upstairs with me right now because my dog is locked up upstairs in a kennel and I have the key; she can’t get out.

So the dog was upstairs in the house that day in a room.  And when we came – when I showed the officers, they said:  How do these people get in?  I said:  Well, the window is open.  I said when we left out, the children and me; the windows were all closed because I do check that.  And I have ADT alarm but that window is not part of the alarm system.  So it looked like somebody – maybe they were trying to do vandalism.  The screen was askew, the window was open.

So the police asked me:  Couldn’t it have been a dog?  I said the dog is locked up in the kennel and the window is open and I left it closed.  So I have no idea what’s going on.  I just asked him:  Could they dust for fingerprints, that’s all.  I did not accuse anybody, did not say anything about any – I didn’t accuse anybody.  I just asked:  Can’t you dust for fingerprints and find out why this window is askew.  They asked:  Why did you leave it open?  I said:  I did not.  I checked to make sure they were closed before I left for work.

They may have been unlocked.  I have 12 windows on my bottom floor;  I have two floors.

Q:  Your problem with the neighbors involves teenagers to early 20’s, not with any adults?

A:  Well, the adult in the house hasn’t had any problems with me.  She’s having problems because she’s never there to see what her teenagers are doing.  So by the time she comes, unseen, whatever information she’s hearing is hearsay from a bunch of boys who have been in the house with her daughter. 

Q:  Are you involved in litigation concerning your employment?

A:  Absolutely.  I have my employers at PERB because I have placements that I asked and because of harassment –

Q:  What is PERB?

A:  PERB is a labor relations board—New York State Labor Relations Board.

Q:  So you currently have a claim against your employer?

A:  Absolutely.  We’re going back on October 2.  And I have the charges, if you want to see;  they’re not delusional.  I don’t think that I’m being asked to punch in, when everybody else is let go, you know, after me.  I’m being singled out for certain behaviors and positions that nobody else is asked to do.

If you give me a cluster position, they’re only telling me what classes I’m going to five minutes before I get there so I’m unprepared.

Q:  Who’s your complaint against?

A:  The union and the Board of Ed.  That complaint is against the union and Board of Ed. Because of the things going on in my job.  But the charges are there, I have them with me...

Q:  The doctor stated that you were in marriage counseling for a time?

A:  Yes, I was.

Q:  For how long a period of time?

A:  Well, while I was still married to him.  It started in the 1990’s and ended in the 2000’s; the late 1990’s to sometime in the 2000’s.

Q:  How long?

A:  Maybe five or six years.

Q:  That you were in counseling for?

A:  Yeah.

Q:  You were not receiving psychotherapy?

A:  No.  It was counseling.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to tell the Judge why he should discharge you today and why he should feel you wouldn’t be a danger to yourself or others?

A:  Yes.  Your Honor, I have never been a danger to myself.  I’ve never been accused of being a danger.  I’ve worked with children from 1990 to the present.  I’ve worked in some of the worse classrooms in New York City.  I started in the Bronx for six  years and now I work in Queens and I never have been accused of harming anybody.  I’ve dealt with countless parents and children.

I’m sure anybody who came into this court from my school would be shocked that I’m even here.  Besides that, I can’t pay my mortgage from in here.  I can’t deposit my checks.  I can’t pay my car, my homeowner’s insurance.  I can’t continue to maintain my household.

Also Dr. Aronson said something about that I didn’t have the psychiatric evaluation that my job requested.  First of all, they didn’t request a psychiatric, they requested a medical and I did have it.  I had it as soon as they could give it to me.  I had it on 12/27/06…  I brought in my doctor’s stuff on, which the legal department of New York City told me to go get, so I brought it in on August 31st and at that point in time I was supposed to be given an appointment to go to 65 Court Street and I was not given an appointment from August 31st, 2006 to August 27th; at which time I saw a medical doctor on Court Street and a psychologist.  So I had a psychological outside by my own doctor as well as theirs.

Q:  Do you mean December?

A:  December 27th, 2006; at which time I saw the medical doctor at 65 Court Street and a psychologist.  So I had the psychological outside by my own doctors as well as inside.  And on that day, 12/27/06, I was declared medically fit.

Q:  One other question, these problems you’re having with the neighbors, the doctor says you told them that you would not be calling the police anymore, that you would handle it a different way?

A:  Right.

Q:  Did you tell him that?

A:  Yeah.  I thought I told him – I thought I told you that the police suggested I go to –

THE COURT:  Talk to the Court.

MS JUDE:  I’m sorry.  I thought I told the doctor that the police suggested that I go to arbitration.  They said that there is something in our town called arbitration.  So when I said:  I’m not going to call the police anymore, the police came and told me, you should take your neighbors to arbitration;  you can go to the Town of ___________ to a judge and he’ll hear both of your sides.

So you know this sinister thing, I’m going to do something to them or whatever, I don’t know where that insinuation comes from.  If you look at anything I’ve ever done, I’ve handled everything litigiously.  I let the law handle it as much as possible.  I’m not going to harm them or harm myself.

MR MINERVA:  Thank you.  No further questions.


After listening to everyone and everything that was said to me, with all due respect to the doctor, it appears to me the doctor appears to be a very intelligent man, well trained, careful of his observations; but in the totality, I don’t believe there is clear, convincing evidence that this lady should be in the hospital.  I have doubts about every one of the criteria that are necessary to keep her in the hospital.  Therefore, I’m going to release her.

As for the problems that she’s having and described, they’re not unreasonable and they’re well within the realm of possibilty of occurring.  Her actions and complaints in her circumstances, I believe, are believable, and therefore, I am denying any extension of time and as I said, I’m releasing her.

MR MINERVA:  Thank you

JUDE:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

Jude Successfully Defends Herself At Her Sanity Hearing (Part 1)


(Dr. Aronson has already testified that he has diagnosed Jude with delusional disorder persecutory subtype.)

MR. MINERVA:  Morning.

JUDE:  Morning.

Q:  Could you tell us how old you are, please?

A:  43 years old.

Q:  Could you tell us your educational background?

A:  Okay.  Um, I graduated from Bronx High School of Science in 1983 with a Regents Diploma.  I got a Regents scholarship to Hunter College and graduated from Hunter College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.  I graduated from Lehman College in 1993 with a Master of Science in Elementary Education.

Q:  Could you tell us about your employment history?

A:  From 1990 until the present I’ve been employed by the New York City Department of Education as an elementary school teacher, common branch license.

Q:  When is the last time that you worked?

A:  On June 26, 2008.  I’m supposed to go back on August 28, 2008.

Q:  How long have you been at St. Catherine’s Hospital?

A:  I’ve been there since August 14th.

Q:  What led to your admission there?

A:  I had an argument with my neighbors outside of my house.  They were threatening my daughter and she did report that to the police.  They were threatening me as well.  So I called my ex-husband to the scene, thinking that maybe-- that because some of the things they were calling out about involved him as well, thinking that maybe he could help to resolve the situation.  But the situation continued to escalate after he got there, so I called the police.

When I called the police, the police were basically only interested in my ex-husband taking the children.  So I told the police:  Well, I have custody.  I’m the custodial parent and he’s supposed to call first.  I have to make sure he’s taking them to a safe place...

...And so I was telling the police officers I didn’t –let me call somebody else.  Let me call a cousin or someone to get the children.

JUDE:  So what had happened, the police asked me to get the custodial order, which I went into the house to retrieve.  I brought it back out to the police officers and the police officer that was reading it said that, um, I think you’re – I think you’re schizophrenic.  I think you’re delusional.  I think you’re suicidal and irrational.

I said:  I don’t give a flying “F” what you think.  I didn’t say “F”.  So after that he asked me to go back in and get the marriage license.  I went back in to get the marriage license and he was trying to allow my husband, my ex-husband – and I have been divorced from him for six years, who doesn’t pay child support, to drive away with my children with a man that I don’t know.  And I asked the children:  Do you know this man that your father came with?  No.  I didn’t know him.  I didn’t know him...
So to make a long story short, I was upset about the way that the officers were treating me in front of my own home, which I had built 13 years ago and I own all by myself and pay the mortgage with my job as a New York City public school teacher.

I was very upset but I wasn’t physically abusive.  I did make that statement to the officer.  And um, oh, at that point the officer, because he said I was irrational and I wasn’t thinking rationally, put handcuffs on me.  And I asked him, I said:  Am I being arrested?  He said:  No, you’re not being arrested.

Then he said:  Don’t give him the satisfaction.  The neighbors were lined up outside the house.  They took me, put me in a police car.  I have never been arrested in my life.  I’ve never been hospitalized in my life except having those three children, so I didn’t know where I was being taken.  I was just taken 

It was late in the afternoon and I was in a house dress type of thing and I was taken to the hospital.  When I got to the hospital –

Q:  Excuse me.  What hospital?

A:  I was taken to Stony Brook.  When I got to Stony Brook, I heard the officer telling the admitting person:  she’s paranoid schizophrenic and she’s suicidal.  I sat there chained to a chair as he told that to the admitting person at Stony Brook.

Q:  Do you have any explanation why the police took you away?

A:  Because they wanted to – I believe it was because my ex-husband came and probably told them I was schizophrenic or something like that in his efforts to take the children away, you know, knowing I was having an argument with the neighbors.  That was their way of dealing with the whole situation, just to, you know, make it go away.

Q:  So you went to Stony Brook Hospital?

A:  Yes.

Q:  What happened there?

A:  At Stony Brook Hospital I was chained to a chair with handcuffs and I heard the officer telling whoever is at the desk, I’m sucidal, I’m paranoid schizophrenic and that I’m irrational.  Oh, at Stony Brook later on, I was put into this holding room with a lot of different patients and people that were coming in—taken, whatever.  And they asked me for urine and they were asking me for labs or whatever and having never –

Being a union member for 20 years or just about, they always tell you to call your lawyer first before you do anything.  I knew I wasn’t being arrested, but I had never been hospitalized so I didn’t – I did not want to give them any samples of anything because I didn’t know what type – what was going to happen.

So I asked them to just wait until I call my lawyer in the morning.  I was brought in and by the time I got in, it was ten o’clock at night or so.  I told them:  Just wait until I call my lawyer.  The lawyer’s office was opened at nine o’clock but by that time I found out that when a new staff came in, there was a new doctor who could have evaluated me and he was fresh, he wasn’t frazzled from being there all night or whatever.  He told me they had already written me up.

After I spoke to the lawyer I was cooperative and ready to give them the samples they wanted.  I gave them blood, urine, whatever they wanted.  But I wanted to talk—I wanted to seek legal counsel because I thought I was being arrested.

Oh and sorry, the person who was at Stony Brook, the doctor, had already written me up and decided I was going to be involuntarily hospitalized at St. Catherine’s and I didn’t know.  Nobody told me until after I gave them the blood and the urine samples, you know; and after I spoke to my children.  If they had told me, I could have let my attorney speak to them.

Q:  Prior to your being taken in to Stony Brook Hospital had you been drinking?

A:  No, no.

Q:  Were you taking any drugs?

A:  No.

Q:  Why are you in court today?

A:  U’m here in court because I would like to ask the Judge and the Court to release me from the hospital.

Q:  If you were released, where would you go?

A:  Oh, boy, I’d have to go home.  I haven’t paid my mortgage since I was in the hospital.  I had to get my sister to deposit my New York City paycheck.  I had to pay it, electronically, over the phone.  The mortgage was due and late by the 15th, the car note was due on the 20th.  I had to pay my homeowners insurance.

When the doctor sees me being agitated or whatever he’s thinking, it is because I’m going up and down the hallway trying to pay my bills from inside the hospital so when I come home I have a home to go to.

MINERVA:  Will you be returning to work?

JUDE:  Absolutely;  August 28, 2008.

Q:  Tell us again where you work?

A:  PS ____________ Queens.

THE COURT:  What grade do you teach?

JUDE:  Last year I taught fourth grade.  This year I’m going into third.  And I have my – you know what the writeups are?  I have them for the last several years, from last year, year before that and a lot of previous years;  I have them all the way going back to 1990.  But I have, you know, the last five years right here.

Q:  You feel that you have a mental illness?

A:  No, I do not.

Q:  You heard the doctor say he believed you have a delusional disorder?

A:  Right.

Q:  You believe you have this disorder?

A:  No, I do not.

Q:  Do you feel you have any problems?

A:  I’m under a great deal of stress, great deal of stress.

Q:  What’s causing you that stress?

A:  Well, I’m a homeowner.  Nobody else owns the home or could pay the mortgage but me, so I’m paying it all by myself.  I’m a New York City public school teacher for the last—I’m going into my 18th year.  I’m raising my children all by myself.  I don’t have any help or any support except for the babysitter; and you know, you have to pay for that type of support.  My ex-husband has not paid his child support.  Joe Henche can tell you that my husband hasn’t paid his child support in the last five years.

He owes me $956 a month for the last five years for child support, which was awarded as part of my divorce and he has not paid me.  Also there’s been things missing.  For instance, my son’s bike got stolen in July off the front lawn while we were in the house.  He’s eight years old.  He rode his bike there, put it down and his bike was stolen off the front lawn.  People were standing in the front of the house and they were laughing about it, but I can’t prove they did it.

Beside that, someone put dog mess on my door.  When I came home, other people were yelling something about that, saying something about “your daughter knows we did it; some craziness.  And then you know these type of things are causing stress.  But mostly it is the financial aspect, the rising cost of gas; um, how will I heat my home for this winter without any extra help other than what the $80,000 New York City school teacher’s salary.

Q:  How are you managing this?

A:  Okay, I take the children on a lot of vacations.  As a matter of fact, we just came back from the Bahamas on a Saturday prior to the incident.  Prior to that Wednesday we just came back from the Bahamas and that was very relaxing.  The children and I flew out of La Guardia airport;  we took Delta and flew to Florida.  From there we took the boat over to the Bahamas, just me and my kids that live with me.  Then we went over to the Bahamas and stayed in Port Lakaya for three nights, we stayed in Freeport for three more, few back to Florida, stayed there and flew back to New York.

Q:  Do you have pictures from that?

A:  Absolutely.

MR. MINERVA:  Could I have those marked for evidence?

THE COURT:  Any objection?

MR. STERN:  No Your Honor.

THE COURT:  Thank you.  I’ll take a look at the pictures.

Q:  Those pictures are from this vacation?

A:  From right now; from days ago.  And I have more, I have a whole pack, so you’d be able to see it’s Port Lakaya, the Freeport post office…

THE COURT:  Show the other side.  Next question.

Q:  Is there anything else you’ve been doing to help manage your stress?

A:  Okay, I took the summer off.  I could have worked to get more money this summer and teacher’s pay is $40 something dollars an hour for summer school.  But I took the summer off to be with the children.  I’ve made sure that they had swimming lessons this summer and that we’ve been going on—I got a beach pass to _____ and town beaches.  We’ve been going to the beach a lot, boogie boarding, hanging out with the children all summer long to alleviate the stress that built up over the school year.

We’ve been hanging out together all summer long.  Also, I took exercise classes sometimes to try to alleviate the stress.  Like I went through a kick boxing program and I went through—I was going five days a week, one hour a day.  So these things, these type of things, that’s what I do to try to alleviate some stress going on.  Oh, another thing I wanted to do to alleviate the stress, I was planning to take my ex-husband to court to try to get the money back that he owes me, because you know, getting back $60,000 that somebody is owed in back child support payments, that would alleviate a great deal of stress for a single mom.

Q: Are you taking steps to do that?

A:  Yes.

Q:  You feel you need any help managing your stress?

A:  Only legal help.  “Legal help” in terms of achieving the money I’m owed.

Q:  While you’re in the hospital, are you cooperative with the hospital’s routine?

A:  Absolutely.

Q:  What activities do you engage in?

A:  Well, everyday I walked a mile, everyday, on the treadmill in the recreation room.  Sometimes I play cards with some of the patients.  I played Spades with some of the patients.  We watched television together and I go to the community meetings.

Q:  Do you take any medication?

A:  Absolutely not.

Q:  Has the doctor asked you and offered you to take medication?

A:  Yes, he has.

Q:  Why aren’t you taking medication?

A:  Um, I left – well, I have very – first of all, I don’t believe that I have what he thinks that I have, okay;  I don’t believe I have that.  Secondly, even if I did have some kind of paranoia or paranoid disorder that medication is for—is an antipsychotic and so that’s not—it’s used to treat schizophrenia, used to treat manic depression, used to treat a lot of different disorders he didn’t tell me that I had.

Also, the fact that I’m a teacher, I couldn’t drive—I can’t drive around on Vicodin.  I have a herniated disk and I can’t even take Vicodin; I can’t take it and drive.  How will I take antipsychotic medicine and then be able to teach?  Teaching involves your whole brain.  You have to breakdown the lessons, write up lesson plans; you have to think and plan.  I can’t take something that will affect the way that I think.

So for the reason why when he indicated about the job, I might as well just quit if you put me on something and I can’t do the job anyway.  You’re going to medicate me out of it anyway so—and another thing was that—sorry, what he said about…

Q:  How did you come by this knowledge of the medication?

A:  Oh, because I asked for a printout at the nurse’s station. 


Jude's Saga Continues

Before starting my own story, I'm going to bring you up to date with Jude's story which I started back in 2010.  I told you that it reminded me of the Rape of Gertrude Perkins and all the bad stuff that happened in the pre-civil rights era. However, I didn't tell you why.  I just gave you background.  Jude was in the middle of the litigation process and I was concerned that publicizing details of her case would  jeopardize it.

That is how they isolated us from each other and from the public.  We weren't supposed to talk about what they were doing to us to anyone.  But she talked about it to me.  I can't see how my silence can help her anymore, and she's not in a good place, so publishing the whole story can't really hurt her more than she has already been hurt.

Basically, Jude got in trouble at work because she reported test tampering to her principal who then, instead of supporting her, turned against her.

At about the same time, Jude found out that her husband, father of her three children, was gay.  I won't go into the details of how she found out, but she was able to confirm that he had been having unprotected sex with large numbers of gay men throughout their marriage. 

She filed for divorce and gave him joint custody of the children.  She didn't try to cut him out of the children's lives, and I guess he got the idea that she would keep his secret and allow him to remain in the closet.  However, somehow it got out anyway, as secrets often do.  The only person that she talked to about it was her minister, so draw your own conclusions.

Within just a few months of each other, Jude had two life events that left her principal and coworkers mad at her for outing the test tampering in the school, and her husband and his whole family angry at her for opening the closet door.  A few months after these two events happened, Jude's husband visited her school and spent a long time with the principal in her office.  He did this on several other occasions.  Both the husband and the principal were from the island of Jamaica, and were very possibly blood related.

For the next few years, Jude describes escalating harrassment in the school and at home.  I'll skip over the harrassment at school, because that was fairly standard stuff.  At home, things would happen like this:  her washing machine broke down, she called the repairman, and he told her that someone had gone into the washing machine and intentionally removed a vital piece of the machinery.  At that time, Jude was living alone with her three small children.  She hadn't removed it and they were incapable of doing so.  Draw your own conclusions.  Over and over again she found things "different" when she came home, like somebody had been there while she had been at work, and had done some small damage to let her know they had been there.  She also found voodoo stuff on her front door and car.  This went on for years.

Did I mention that Jude' principal lives in the same neighborhood and has been seen driving past Jude's house on multiple occasions?

Jude's reaction to this harrassment would seem the logical thing to do if you thought we lived in a just society without racisim, sexism, or classism, and that the police are our friends.  I guess that's what Jude thought.  She reported every inicident of harrassment in school, and she reported each weird breakin to the local police.  The police, instead of writing her reports up as breakins, but them down as domestic disputes.

None of this was like the Rape of Gertrude Perkins--but here it comes: The unimaginable, for anyone who thinks we've made some progress since the 1950's.

In August of 2008,  about seven years after she first reported the test tampering and found out that her husband was gay, a group of boys in the neighborhood stood on Jude's front lawn and yelled insults and threats about what they were going to do to her daughter.  Jude called her husband and asked him to drive out to Long Island from his home in the Bronx.  She also called the police.  Three hours later, the crowd of boys had dispersed.  The husband showed up and so did the police.  Jude came out to talk to the police about why she had called them.  They sent her inside to get the divorce papers and her mortgage papers.  She was sole owner of the house.  When she came out they put handcuffs on her.  Her two youngest children were given over to her husband.  She was taken to a hospital and admitted without her consent under the care of a psychiatrist named Dr. Aronson (real name).

The police informed the doctor that neighbors had told them that Jude walked around the neighborhood naked.  That she had been unemployed for two years, and that she couldn't pay her rent--that she was basically a crazy homeless person.  Aronson kept her there for eight days and billed her insurance for it.  He talked to her and to selected family members -- the ones she had problems with.  He didn't talk to any friends or family members who were on her side.  They didn't even know she was there.

As she was walking around the ward one day she saw a notice on the bulletin board saying that she had a right to a lawyer.  They couldn't keep her there indefinitely without her permission.  Long story short, Jude got her day in court. I have the transcript.  It reads like a movie.  On one side you have a black woman with her white court-appointed attorney.  On the other side you have a white psychiatrist, the white attorney representing the hospital,  and in the middle you have the white judge--State Supreme Court judge.

Aronson makes the case that Jude is a "delusional disorder persecutory subtype".  Then Jude testifies.  She is unmedicated, having refused to take any medication during her eight days at the hospital.  If you go back and read her story, I mentioned that she graduated at the top of her class at Bronx High School of Science.  It shows.

Unemployed for two years?  Jude has paystubs for the last two years.

Can't pay her rent?  Jude is a homeowner whose mortgage is up to date.  In fact, she's very worried about having missed a mortgage payment while in the hospital.

Schizophrenic?  She just got back from a two-week vacation in the Bahamas with her children, which she had planned and saved for all year.

Paranoid?  She talks about her washing machine and a few other incidents.  She talks about what the boys were shouting at her daughter--the reason that she called the police in the first place.

Walking around in the nude?-- There's Jude, sitting in court conservatively dressed and carrying herself with dignity even after everything that has happened to her and everything that has been said about her.

The judge found in her favor and ordered the hospital to let her go.  She walked free, home to an empty house.  Surely her children would be returned to her, based on the outcome of the hearing.  But no, Dr. Aronson went to family court and gave the same testimony against her.  This time it stuck and Jude never got her children back.  What is more,  his testimony, more than anything else is the weapon that was used against her to send her to the Rubber Room, to bring charges against her in a 3020a hearing, and to suspend her for eight months.

I have read her charges and a suspension of eight months was way overboard for what she was charged with.  She was suspended on the basis Aaronson's testimony against her which the hearing officer had read, even though that isn't the official story.

The eight-month suspension is over, but they won't put Jude back to work.  She's supposed to get a psychiatric evaluation before they'll let her back.  Meanwhile, Jude has had to empty out her savings in order to keep up her mortgage payments.

She still hasn't gotten her kids back and is worried about one of her daughters who ran away from the father, was put in foster care, dropped out of school (she was on the honor role when she lived with Jude), is now living on the street without a high school degree but with a boy who is rumored to be a drug dealer.  Congratulations Dr. Aaronson and Child Protective Services.

Jude's story is long and convoluted, but the transcript of her sanity hearing reads, as I said before, like the script of a play or a movie.  I wonder if the Occupy Wall Street people might like to hear a reading of it by some young actors.  I think they deserve some good entertainment in addition to their General Assemblies.  Maybe  I'll put part of the transcript up on this blog for the entertainment of everyone on the World Wide Web.  Maybe Wikileaks would like a copy.

Let it reverberate like the voices of people in Liberty Square, Washington Square, and Times Square.  Let it reverberate all over the world.

Monday, October 17, 2011

How to Avoid a Personal Meltdown

"Even when not actively generating power, nuclear power reactors require cooling, typically provided by coolant flow, to remove decay heat.[16] Pressurized water reactors use water flow at high pressure to remove waste heat. After an emergency shutdown (SCRAM), the core still generates a significant amount of residual heat, which is initially about seven percent of the total thermal output of the plant. If not removed by coolant systems, the heat could lead to core damage." (Wikipedia:  Chernobyl disaster)

What do you do when you have an anger that is as wide as the ocean and as deep as the deep blue sea, and yet you are a caring individual and a responsible citizen who does not want to see innocent people, including yourself, especially yourself, hurt by this anger?

In the case of a nuclear plant, you need lots of water to keep things cool, and that analogy works for human beings.

For me, the love of my family and friends is water.  A creative outlet is water.    Exercise is water.  Doing something nice for someone is water.  Meditation and prayer. Smiling and laughing.  Puppies and kittens.  Flowers and trees. Music. Rain... 

Children can be water, for some people, but not for me. Children remind me of February 6, 2009.  It was the last day I ever taught in a classroom.  Principal S _ _ _ _ _  T _ _ _ _ removed me from the classroom and sent me to the infamous Rubber Room.  I retired on November 17, 2010 without being charged with anything, but as soon as she found out that I had retired,  T _ _ _ _ sent me an e-mail telling me to come to school to pick up my charges. Of course, I didn't go.  I had waited twenty months for her stupid trumped-up charges.  As far as I was concerned she could stick them where the sun don't shine.   I had no desire to ever teach again--and still don't.  I don't even want to babysit.

Almost a year has passed since my retirement, and instead of feeling better about what happened to me under Bloomberg's Department of Education, I feel worse.  I've tried to move on, engineering a vast coolant system.  However, when I'm least expecting it--POW!!!--I'm back in the classroom hearing "You called her a slut!!!!"  Or....there are a a thousand bad moments, and I can't experience any good ones.  I know I had them as a teacher.   I remember them with my mind, but I don't feel them with my heart.

This blog has been a pretty effective part of my coolant system.    Up until now it's been a kind journal.  Now I'm going to start to write down memories from early in my career as well.    I'm trying to make sense of it all, and I admit I'm coming from a very negative place.  I'll make an effort to remember and write the positive memories even though, as I said, I'm not feeling them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How Does It Feel To Lose Control, Bloomberg?

Top Of The Mornin' To Ya, Bloomberg,

How are you feeling after you lost control of New York City yesterday?  Not too good, I'll bet.  Are you harkening back to the good old days when you were able to pen up 1000 people during the Republican convention?

You know, I can relate, I really can.  On Friday, February 6, 2009 I lost control of class 705. My students started shouting at me, "You called her a slut!  You called her a whore!" referring to Madelene Benders, one of their classmates.  I was in shock, trying to understand where this was coming from and swearing to God that I had not and would not ever do such a thing.

Yesterday, the crowd that took over Times Square was chanting:

"We are the 99%!"
"Banks got bailed out,  we got sold out"
"The people, united, will never be defeated"

In my case, a couple of boys, a relatively small portion of the class, had been instigating all week long, repeating over and over that I had called Madelene a slut and that the class should band together to get me fired.  In your case, a very small portion of the people have been repeating this same message about the people, the banks, and the 99% for more than a hundred years.  Nothing really happens until the majority takes up the chant.  Then things change.

In my case, the boys were operating with the full knowledge, consent, and support of the Principal, S_ _ _ _ _   T_ _ _ _ and her henchman, assistant principal  R_ _  Z_ _ _ _.  In your case, the crowd is operating without the support of the power structure of this city--in fact they are operating in direct opposition. 

In my case, I lost the hearts and minds of my students--not all of them, but enough.  Now, you have lost the hearts and minds of New Yorkers.  Maybe not all,  but enough.

In my case, it was a very controlled insurrection.  The students were in essence doing the dirty work of the principal -- helping to get rid of an unwanted teacher.  The overall power structure of the DOE, beginning with you at the top and filtering right down through the Chancellor to the administrators of each school building was not threatened by my students' chants.  This was in essence, a "controlled burning".   For you, the burn has now gotten out of control, and the whole freaking forest is on fire.

In my case, the children were lying, and they knew it.  In your case the October 15 crowds who gathered all over the world in every major city are right, and they know it.

No, Bloomberg, it doesn't feel good to have a crowd rise up against you with anger and hatred.    Now you know how it feels. 

Thank you, God, for letting me see this day!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Whole World Is Watching, Fool!

Why is it always the guys in the white shirts who punch women in the face in front of hundreds of cameras?  Is white the new brown?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Marching Down Broadway at 7:30 AM

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at

I was in Zuccotti Park while this march was going on.  I had no idea that a group had taken off marching down Broadway until I heard all the police sirens.  I followed the sirens to see what all the excitement was about, but by the time I got to the bull, the crowd had dispersed.

I really like that they sang one of my favorite protest songs, "We're Not Gonna Take it".  Here it is for all those who wanted to make it down there today but couldn't.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fist In The Sky

Yesterday I went to hear John Carlos speak at NYU.  He is a great speaker and teacher.  There are videos on youtube that can give you an idea of what he's like, but I'm glad I got to be there in person.  Here are the videos.

Tomorrow Bloomberg is going to try to clear Occupy Wallstreet out of Liberty Square at 7:00 AM.  I am going to be there with my camera when they come with their brooms and their batons.  I am not planning to get arrested, but I think it's important to be there.

Send out the call.  Tell everybody who can get there, to arrive before 7:00 AM.   Whose Street?  Our Street!!!!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Billion Here, A Billion There. What Do I Care?

Two perspectives (I suspect from different sides of the aisle) on the significance of a billion dollars.

Why is it that people who moan and groan about public spending never mention the billion dollar bombers?

Teachers and Parents Occupy Wall Street

Courtesy of Grassroots Education Movement.

Nothing's Sure But Death And Taxes

This graph was posted on the facebook page of Americans Against The Tea Party. 

The questions on the side of the graph say:
How will we pay for the infrastructure repair and replacement?
If growth is connected to the rich getting tax breaks, how did the US economy grow in the 50's?
If low tax rates on the rich are so necessary for a solid economy, what happened in the period between "25-28"?
What kind of BS is being sold by the Republican paty and their masters, the corporations?

These are all very good quesitons, but they have engendered more questions than I had before.

What are the tax rates in 2011?
How much do you have to  make to be in the top tier?
What do the other tiers pay?
Do these tax rates include state and local taxes?
Exactly what loopholes enable the top tier to avoid paying taxes?
In what tier does the middle class fall and what is that tax rate?
What percentage do the taxes of the different tiers contribute to the Gross National Product?
What would the different tiers have to pay in order to erase the National Debt?

When different sides debate, they present evidence that supports their case only.  In science, you have to report all the evidence for and against a hypothesis. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

What Is The Alternative?

How to Save Capitalism

I happen to think that capitalism and the for-profit mentality that it represents is destroying the world, but, I listen closely to those who don't think the way I do.

After the 2008 crash I looked around on the internet for anyone who publicly predicted it and was laughed at until the crash actually happened. There were four or five--mostly traders. Peter Schiff was one of those people. In the following video, he blames government regulations and spending for the state of the economy, and he outlines the way he thinks that we might be able to bring the economy back from the brink of disaster (if it isn't too late already).

I agree that if we want to save capitalism, we should get on board with Schiff's plan. However, I would also ask: Do we really want to save capitalism?

Steve Jobs Was Not A Saint But I Still Love My Mac

Someone made me aware of this facebook post which I include because I agree that the whole unvarnished truth is much more interesting than the squeaky clean version, and I, unlike Jobs, am prounion and totally against exporting jobs overseas. But (sigh) I love my Mac.

The Beatification of Steve Jobs
by Rob Smart on Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 9:24pm

Steve Jobs death is a tragedy. The premature end of a brilliant and innovative mind is a great loss to the world. People talk about his zen-like utterances, his taking LSD, his visionary qualities and replay his admittedly inspiring commence address over and over again. And it is indeed an amazing speech. Everybody should listen to it and take it to heart.

We have a tendency to idealize people who passed on who were close to us or otherwise important to us. We forget the less fortunate qualities and remember only the admirable and impressive qualities. We turn the coin over so that only the shiny side is visible and the tarnished side is concealed.

When Uncle John goes to his reward we call him a wonderful man and forget that he drank too much during holiday dinners and when frustrated kicked the dog across the living room. We only remember that he was a wonderful man.

Steve Jobs (and Steve Wozniak) were brilliant innovators, no doubt. It should be kept in mind however that though his company earned billions he chose to ship the jobs assembling those computers to cheap-labor countries. He was virulantly anti-union, especially teacher's unions. The Walt Disney company wanted to remove him from their board because he was so rabidly anti-union. The conditions in his Chinese factories were notoriously bad.

There are people in the streets of New York and other cities protesting against the destructive consequences of such corporate attitudes.

Yes, we should mourn the loss of a genius and innovator and celebrate his achievement. But we should also be circumspect and not lose sight of the whole man.

Such a note may seem premature. He just died yesterday. But I have seen such a gush of adulation that it seems necessary to sound a cautionary note. Our perfectly legimate sentiments in response to the tragic premature death of a great man should not cause us to lose perspective.

I catch a whiff of almost instantaneous, uncritical beatification underway. But saints are an imaginary construct. They do not exist in reality. Steve Jobs was a human being, a flawed one, like all the rest of us.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Global Assault on Public School Teachers And Their Unions

Every teacher in New York City should see this video offered by the Grassroots Education Movement.

How to Escape the Bloomborg

Steve Jobs on how not to be a Bloomburger.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

We Are the 99 Percent

From: Michael Mulgrew
Sent: Tue, Oct 4, 2011 3:10 pm
Subject: Community-labor march to Wall St. on Oct. 5

Please join us for a community-labor march this Wednesday, Oct. 5 as we demand that the wealthiest New Yorkers pay their fair share of taxes. Albany must renew the state millionaire's tax that is due to expire on Dec. 31.
At 4:30 p.m., we will begin handing out UFT hats at the UFT banner in Foley Square. The marchers will step off at 5 p.m. from Foley Square and head to Zuccotti Park, where they will be welcomed by the Occupy Wall Street protesters who have created an encampment to denounce corporate greed and the grossly unequal distribution of wealth in this country. Their rallying cry: “We are the 99 percent.”

Michael Mulgrew


United Federation of TeachersA Union of Professionals
52 Broadway, New York, NY 10004 • 212.777.7500 •

Whose City? Our City.

Dear Friend,
People young and old are taking the streets to let our government and corporations know that we are a democracy that’s not for sale.
The Occupy Wall Street protest is a full bore international indictment against corporate greed and dysfunctional government.

Will you use our inspiring video and images to activate and motivate a friend? We want everyone to know about the Occupy movement. Already, there are thousands of protesters in New York City and hundreds more in Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Miami and elsewhere.

The time is now. Protests are growing more each day, with some observers estimating the Occupy movement could swell to 250,000 online activists in the coming days.

Watch our video, then add your voice to the protest near you.

Democracy requires the wisdom of crowds.

Robert Greenwald
and the Brave New Foundation team

P.S. I invite you to join me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Whose Bridge? Our Bridge!

First of all, I would like to say that I fully support the hundreds of demonstrators who marched onto the  Brooklyn bound roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday to protest police brutality and to support the Occupy Wallstreet movement.

Blocking a roadway is nothing compared to stealing trillions of dollars from the American people, but I don't see one banker or politician in jail.  The laws and the police are obviously not meant to protect the 99%.

I was on the Brooklyn Bridge and, as a result,  have now learned a new concept:  kettling  " a police tactic for controlling large crowds during demonstrations or protests. It involves the formation of large cordons of police officers who then move to contain a crowd within a limited area. Protesters are left only one choice of exit, determined by the police, or are completely prevented from leaving. In some cases protesters are reported to have been denied access to food, water and toilet facilities for a long period. "

I joined the protest against police brutality at Liberty Square around 3:30 PM on October 1st.

There was a large police presence.

We started down Wall Street marching toward the Brooklyn Bridge chanting.  There was still a large police presence with one cop every ten feet.

The crowd was peaceful, upbeat, and very loud.  The chants were the same that I had heard in many other protests that I have attended this year.  A few examples:

We Are the 99%, You Are The 99%
Tell Me What Democracy Looks Like,  This is What Democracy Looks Like
Tax The Rich, Not The Poor
Whose Street?  Our Street!

When you're in the middle of a march, you have a very miopic view of the protest.  You can only see the people immediately in front, back, and to the sides.

As we approached the bridge there was a large contingent of motorcycle cops parked next to the sidewalk.

Then we started onto the bridge.  Police were still to right of us, but didn't speak to us or give us any directions.

More police walked by without saying anything to us.  Some were carrying plastic handcuffs.

I kept following the people in front of me.

Cars merged onto the bridge and we found ourselves occupying the same roadway with them.  They drove by us in single file.  There were more protestors above us.  I realized that we were on the roadway and that those above us were on the pedestrian walkway.  The marchers had divided at some point.

Suddenly we stopped.  People yelled "keep moving!"  Others replied that the police were blocking the way.  Traffic was no longer moving to the right of us.  This was as far as we were going to go.  Many marchers sat down and called for everyone else to sit down.  I wasn't sure what to do.   

Right in back of me was Charles Barron and the Freedom Party.  I looked at them and they seemed to be discussing what to do.  Just beyond them was a line of police blocking us in from behind.  Suddenly the Freedom Party seemed to come to a decision and they moved decisively to the right where the traffic had been moving and started walking back toward Manhattan.  These were longtime activists who had been a part of many civil disobedience actions and who had on other occasions intentionally allowed themselves to be arrested.  They obviously didn't think it was a good idea to stay, and I hadn't come with the intention of getting arrested, so I followed them.

We passed a man who was being arrested.

It seemed as though there needed to be lots and lots of police in order to arrest this one older gentleman.

The police allowed us to walk in single file towards Manhattan, but they were not the ones that opened a pathway through the police blockade--the Freedom Party people did that.  I was not sure how long that very small opening would last.  I saw police rolling out orange netting.  By this time, I was too nervous to take photos, and just wanted to get off the bridge as soon as possible.

There were people in back of me, and I hoped that those who wanted to leave the roadway were being allowed to go, but I couldn't see how many people were behind me. People were above us on the pedestrian sidewalk taking photos and could probably see a lot more of what was going on that I could.

When I exited the bridge I tried to get onto the pedestrian walk and go back to see what was happening on the bridge to other protestors, but the cops blocked the way, and I couldn't get back on.  
 I found myself alone and at a loss for what to do.  After walking around for a while, I decided to get on the train and go home. 

I have thought a lot about what happened on Saturday.  Yes, we were on the roadway and interrupting traffic, but I have been in other demonstrations where the marchers occupied part of the roadway and the traffic flowed past us on the right.  It seems to me, that if the cops wanted us to stay off the roadway, they should have placed police barricades, or at least tape, to direct the marchers onto the pedestrian walkway.  There had been cops all along the way, almost walling in the protestors and making sure they stayed on the sidewalk.  There were twenty motorcycle cops right at the entrance of the roadway, but they weren't blocking it.  A long line of cops hurried past us, but didn't give us directions.  When they stopped us on the bridge and trapped us between two police lines, they did not announce a way for people to leave who were not there to be a part of a civil disobedience action, but who had simply gotten onto the wrong pathway.

The police said they made announcements with bullhorns.  I didn't hear any.  Have you ever tried to hear bullhorns through the chants of thousands of people? 

People are saying that the cops led us into a trap, and I think I agree.  For what reason?  Well, now they have the pictures and fingerprints of about 700 people who go to demonstrations against corporate greed and police brutality.

Do they have the photos and fingerprints of the bankers and politicians who got us into trillions of dollars of debt?

The good news is that, to my knowledge, no one got hurt or killed, and now there is going to be an even bigger demonstration on Wednesday.  All the unions will be there.  Everyone is making sure that they are part of a group.   It's probably not a good idea to be out there alone, but please do come if you are in New York.    I'm sure you can find a group that you will be comfortable marching with.  Check out the Occupy Wallstreet website.