Wednesday, June 15, 2016
The saga of the tortured teacher continues, this time with a city pay-out. But what lessons is the city teaching the wrong-doers?
The New York Post published the story of part of a saga of an ATR, "Teachers abused by students wins $125k settlement," where she got a payout for enduring terrible abuse at Catherine & Count Basie Middle School (MS 72). While she was a regularly assigned teacher she was assaulted by students on a number of occasions. She was subject to multiple episodes of very profane verbal abuse by her students, and she was subject to threats to her personal safety off the campus of the Guy Brewer Boulevard, Queens school. Students misbehaved in ways that not only threatened the teachers but other students. The administration's response was to disregard the abuse and to blame the victim. It is fortunate that Ms. Perez won an award for what she endured. Yet in this instance the city covered for the wrong-doers. But what lessons is it teaching, as the principal, Omotayo Cineus is still sitting comfortable in her position?
This story alone is terrible, yet it is significant. This kind of abuse and administrative accommodation of harassment of teachers goes on widely in the NYC DOE system, but the administrators overseeing bogus statistics or other sorts of improper conduct remain safe in their positions, as in these cases and as in this principal, who would be in hot water in a just system, but this being the DOE, proper punishment is doubtful. This case is significant because the DOE has lost and the case has gone public. These two factors now give added momentum to similar claimants, as the case shows that DOE administrators act as though they can get away with anything, yet in this case the DOE was defeated.
The facts that principal abuse of teachers goes on, and that the DOE tolerates this, as noted in the above blog cross-references, by keeping the abusers in power, and by paying the penalty for their abuse, demonstrates that the DOE is OK with this abuse. From these facts we can ask, what kind of message is the DOE sending to students? What kind of message is the DOE sending to the public? What kinds of values do mayor DeBlasio and Chancellor Farina have when they accommodate this kind of abuse and neglect? Are they subscribing to the idea of inspiring excellence by tormenting staff, because this bullying is what their system is practicing.. This school is hardly an isolated bad apple in the DOE. How does the DOE value humane compassion for its teaching staff? How does the DOE value the teaching profession? How does the DOE plan to retain staff? How does the DOE plan to inspire good behavior in students and how does the DOE plan to inspire students to pursue the teaching profession?