Sean Bell, Rubber Rooms, and “Guiliani Time”: Why Do Bloomberg/Klein Criminalize Teachers and Punish Their Students?

A teacher catches a burglar in his apartment, subdues him and calls 911. The neighbors gather and applaud, the burglar has been ransacking other apartments, the police arrive, the burglar accuses the teacher is hitting him, the cop says, “I’m not a judge …,” arrests the burglar and the teacher, who spends a few months in a rubber room.
 
While driving home a teacher is stopped by a police car, and accused of passing a stop sign. The teacher tells the officer, “There is no stop sign on the corner.” The officer says he “smells marijuana,” searches the car, finds a hunting knife in the trunk, and arrests the teacher for “weapons and drug possession,” and, he spends months in a rubber room.
 
The Guiliani/Bloomberg administration policy: “stop and frisk,” arrest first, overcharge policies, all put in place to reduce crime, result in huge numbers of arrests that are eventually dismissed, or, adjourned contemplating dismissal.
 
Of course, if you are a male of color, you are quite aware of this policy. Is there a male of color in this city who has not had a run-in with police officers? Half a million recorded “stop and frisks,” and, only one quarter are reported!
 
Rather than supporting their employees the Department supports city policy that avers every male of color is a potential criminal.
 
Rather than advocating for a policy that would adjudicate teacher arrests in a few days the Department allows teachers to sit in Keinjail and kids to suffer.
 
Over six hundred teachers are sitting in rubber rooms awaiting the resolution of their cases. The NY Daily News reports that 155 have been “arrested” and 134 have been accused of “corporal punishment.”
 
Why does it take months to determine accusations of corporal punishment? Principals or investigators should interview accusers or witnesses within days and make a judgement.
 
Teachers who are arrested for “serious misconduct” (a variety of felonies specifically defined in the Agreement) may be “suspended without pay” after an expedited hearing before a “probable cause” arbitrator.
 
 Probable cause exists when evidence or information which appears reliable discloses facts or circumstances making it likely that such conduct occurred and that such person committed the conduct. To establish probable cause, the investigator assigned to the matter must be present and testify under oath before the arbitrator. The Board may also be required to produce signed statements from the victim or witnesses, if any. Thereafter, the Respondent shall have an opportunity to respond orally to the offer of proof. The arbitrator may ask relevant questions or may make further inquiry at the request of Respondent. The hearing shall not require testimony of witnesses nor shall cross-examination be permitted.
 
Why can’t a similar process be used for corporal punishment accusations?
Determinations can be made in weeks, instead of months or years: the teacher can be cleared and returned to class, receive a critical letter in their file and returned to class, or, brought up on charges.
Kids will have teachers returned to classrooms instead of months with day-to-day substitutes.
 
How many teachers in rubber rooms will be brought up on charges? How many will be found guilty?
 
The answer: very, very few.
 
If so, why does the Department continue to support policies that impact so negatively on kids and teachers?
 
Why does the Department support policies that waste tens of millions of dollars?
 
It is a sad commentary, the Department is more concerned with image than impact.
 
Their public posture: We are tough! We fight the union! We defend kids from the incompetent/ dangerous!
 
More and more the Klein model ressembles the corporations that move manufacturing “offshore,” work with despots to avoid/subdue/destroy unions, and use public relations to market their “product,” manufactured by workers in virtual peonage.
 
The Klein Department is a trompe d’oiel, masking a mean, uncaring cabel only concerned with their future.
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