I don't know if you can help me, but I'm at my wits end and I need some help desperately. I'm a NYC Physics High School Teacher who was falsely accused of touching a student's breast during a classroom demonstration on Newton's 3rd law of motion. The details of the demonstration were given in a Daily News article about me that was written back in November of 2006. I'd be happy to send you this article and other material as well upon request.
Since November 2006, I have been "reassigned" to a NYC Department of Education holding center, more commonly called a "rubber room". Regardless of its name, this is a prison. Especially for me, someone who loves teaching and whose entire identity has been defined by the type of teacher I am. I have won awards for being an excellent teacher and this situation is ripping my soul apart. Before I came to the rubber room, I thought I was alone in this respect. I was very surprised to find out that there are room full of teachers sitting with me who have over 20 years experience, some who have as much as 34 years of teaching. I have learned that they too were award winning teachers who were thrown into this dungeon for trumped up charges. Most teachers assigned to these room are age 50 and over. The younger teachers assigned to these rooms are often sent back to their schools without much fanfare. The older teachers, almost never. Instead, the Department of Education often seeks to file what is called 3020a charges against the teacher seeking their removal. The joke is it may often take way over a year and a half until their court case comes up. After a year and a half a being a prisoner, many teachers are so demoralized and disgusted that they opt for early retirement.
Why is this happening? So that Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein can eliminate highly paid veteran teachers and replace them with lowered paid novice teachers. It is the beginning of the corporatization of the American school system. And by the way, this is happening throughout the entire country. Not just in New York City.
Why should anyone care about us? Very simply, because if there is no freedom left for teachers, if they cannot do the best that they can while teaching their classes unencumbered in using tried and true teaching methods that they know work in the classroom, if they are intimidated into remaining silent while civil liberties are trampled on, then there cannot be and will not be any democracy left in this country. I have a young teacher 30 years old with me who says that there may be "law" in this country, but there is no justice. A 53 year old teacher, an ex lawyer, has told me that he believes that this country is developing into a Banana republic, where phony charges are made up at will to get rid of "undesirables".
This is not the type of country that I pledge to protect and defend when I recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Please help us and the children of this country to see that justice is done. We need you.Sincerely,