ATRs, the unrepresented -- no elected representatives in the UFT

"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected.
"To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another."
Thomas Paine, First Principles of Government

Hello, ATRs are suing

Saturday, January 18, 2014

“Places, Everyone!”- in Which the Former ATR Plays the Role of Obedient Minion. Or Not. And All the UFT Reps are Going By the Same Script.

The Teacher Under Assault's story tells us a UFT that is merely a service organization, not an advocacy organization. It shouldn't have to be this way.

So, where were we? Oh, yes, we were at the part of the story where the principal tells me that the students at the Middle School where I was subjected to constant racial taunts and epithets “Don’t know [I’m] white”. OK
. I guess looking at me (I am one of those people who burns in 15 minutes with SPF 512) didn’t give them a clue. Riiiiiiight. 

And where IS the UFT in all this? The fearless defenders of teachers’ rights has been hard at work…..

Wait, give me a minute to check my files….

Hold on, maybe it was an email…. Nope, not there either….

Ah, here we go! Nope, that was the result of yet another MRI showing ANOTHER back injury as a result of this latest bias assault….

Let’s see, it’s gotta be here somewhere. UFT, UFT, hmmm…..

Well, I guess they haven’t done all that much after all.

OK, maybe that’s a little harsh. Allow me to give a synopsis of what HAS been done to date. I have met with my district rep, borough rep, and my Victims’ Support person at my borough UFT office TWICE. Both times, my statement that the indifference to the students’ attacks and race baiting, coupled with the principal’s “they don’t know you’re white” comment are discriminatory and evidence of racial bias, led to a VERY quick changing of the subject and a reprimand to “stick to the facts of the case – that you were injured in the line of duty. We are not here to discuss the other issues.”

I insisted that under no uncertain terms do I have the intention of returning to teach in a building where the students are permitted to commit bias crimes while the principal empowers them by pretending they do not exist. I said that I need to know what can be done and who can be contacted to ensure that I do not return to this situation where I feel retaliation would be the order of the day from the minute I entered the building. I was given more paperwork to complete (they are great at giving me more homework to do whenever I squawk), and left with assurances from my borough rep that they were “working hard behind the scenes to get this resolved, but we really have no power. It’s up to the network and your network is based in another borough, not this one, which means we really have no clout in this matter.”

Um, really? There are only FIVE borough reps in the whole city. They all answer directly to Mulgrew. Did my borough rep mean to tell me that these five reps don’t know each other and never speak? That they can’t call each other and say, “Hey, it’s me from the borough next door, I need a favor”? They can’t get Mulgrew to sit with them or make a phone call to hash this out? I am sure the head of the police or firefighters’ unions would be more than happy to work on behalf of a member who was being beaten (literally) on the job. Or is it that NO ONE wants to talk about the fact that whites can be the subject of bias crimes and that teachers being beaten and abused by the very students for whom they are held “accountable”? Any mention of the fact that if I were a black teacher being taunted, called the “N” word and beaten by white students, I would have been pulled from the school and the principal reprimanded within a week led to an abrupt end to the meeting, with assurances that they were “working on it”.

Since then, everyone at the UFT has been following the same script.

I received a call about a week later from a UFT social worker. She wanted to know how I was doing after me recent diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and the finding of yet ANOTHER back injury (on top of the ones that came from the first time I was plowed down in the classroom). So I laid out the basics and once again, insisting that what happened to me should be treated as a series of BIAS INCIDENTS, and that since the student said she could “do whatever [she] want to this damn white bitch” right before she pushed me down, the attack should be treated as a HATE CRIME. Immediately, her response was, “we are not here to discuss that right now. I just am calling to check up on you and see how you are as a result of this latest line of duty. Those other things are not part of the conversation right now”. If this sounds familiar, it’s because I heard the same line from my Borough and District Reps and Victims’ Support Advocate in my last meeting.

At my first Medical Bureau exam, I was met by a UFT rep to guide me through the process and witness my medical exam. Since we had a lot of time to kill while waiting, I began to share my story with her and share with her the emails and reports pertaining to my situation. I once again made the observation that, if I were a black teacher being treated this way by a white administrator and white students, I would have been pulled from the situation within a week. Her response? “We are not here to discuss that right now. At this point, we are only here to have your injuries assessed and make sure the Line of Duty is approved so you keep getting paid. These other issues have nothing to do with it.” Wow, that sounded familiar!

Recently, I had my second medical exam, and this time, the social worker who originally called me from Victims’ Support accompanied me to the Medical Bureau. Once again, given that we had much time to kill, I began to share with her some of the emails and reports I had compiled which showed the race baiting and bias incidents I was subjected to, and the lack of response or sensitivity on the part of administration. She wouldn’t ever read anything I shared with her, handing it back immediately and saying, “We are not here to discuss this right now. The important thing is making sure that your LODI request is properly submitted and approved so you can get the treatment you need.”

She, too, has been assimilated.

So it appears that everyone here has an assigned role – My district rep makes the occasional phone call to assure me that they are “working on it”. The Victims’ Support advocate answers the occasional email and gives me more paper to fill out when I get noisy. And the social worker holds my hand through the process and assures me that the Victims’ Support people are “very good at what they do” and that these racial issues are “irrelevant”.

And I guess my role is to be obedient, do as they say and realize that race is irrelevant here.

But what if I don’t?

1 comment:

  1. This is disgusting and a case of reverse discrimination! Are you getting paid?