SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL

Monday, December 4, 2017

3020-a Suicidal Tendencies Suck

All of us get lost in the darkness/Dreamers learn to steer by the stars/All of us do time in the
gutter/Dreamers turn to look at the cars/Turn around and turn around and turn around/Turn around and walk the razor's edge/Don't turn your back/And slam the door on me-- "The Pass" 1990, Peart, Neil

Back in September I wrote this blog post: Teacher Bathroom Behavior Charges, in regards to the 3020-a charges against a certain teacher  about leaving several droplets of pee on a toilet seat and not sufficiently cleaning up his doody after having an "issue."

Today an update. And before I continue, I just want to emphasize that after talking with this teacher, that we both agreed that I can write about what happened to him. That his story can help others in the same predicament.

On Thanksgiving morning, this teacher, this friend of mine, was feeling overwhelmed and despondent over his case. He wasn't in the Rubber Room, but in a different kind of hell. Re-assigned to another school being nothing more than a well paid office boy. Unable to share his gift and passion with the students of the City of New York.

So on this Thanksgiving, where we are supposed to be thankful for the friends, family, and everything in our lives, this teacher was just beside himself. The pressure was getting to him. There was nowhere to turn but inwards.

Some people find solace in a beer or whisky or even Jägermeister. Those beverages would just make him forget for a little while. He was looking for something permanent. To never remember again.

He took a red Solo cup and poured some liquid bleach into it. Not all the way, about a third. It was time he thought. He looked at the cup and looked inside.

He drank it all in one gulp.

At that very moment, through all his despair, he realized he had made a big mistake.

Thank God he was not home alone. He was rushed to the hospital and seen by their mental health team. He assured them that he won't try anything like this again and it was basically a cry for help.

The teacher has since been in contact with the UFT's Member Assistance Team and is doing what he needs to do.

There are many reasons this teacher reacted this way and got to this point. But in my opinion one of the culprits has got to be the attitude of the NYSUT attorneys.

"Don't talk about this to anyone," you are told. Why? "It's none of anyone's business." Which is just another way of saying you should feel shamed and embarrassed with what you are going through.

Want your 3020-a to be an open hearing? "No!!! Don't do it. Anyone can then walk in and see what is going on!" Another way to feel shame.

Unlike cops or firefighters or even transit workers who go through their own versions of a 3020-a and continue to have the support of their colleagues, a teacher going through this process is treated as plutonium from those around them.

For anyone going through the 3020-a process, DON'T FEEL ANY SHAME!!! Sing it loud, sing it proud. It is your case, your life, you decide, not your NYSUT attorney. Talk about it with your friends, your family, people you trust. Share your feelings, get them out.

Now of course there are limits to what you should say and whom you should talk to. But please, do not keep anything in. Have a support system. And, remember, there is absolutely zero shame in seeking help by a professional and/or going on medication. Your life is that important!

As for having an open hearing, do it! Peel back the sheath and expose what transpires in 3020-a hearings. The more people who witness a hearing I truly believe the safer you are.





Saturday, November 18, 2017

#MeToo Jay Shaplow Retired ELA Teacher at Ardsley Middle School

When I started teaching in 1995. I called Jay Shaplow my former 7th and 8th grade ELA teacher from Ardsley Middle School to share with him that he was one of my role models as a teacher and I plan on teaching in a style like him.

But not completely in his style. There are always exceptions.

I didn't recall it for years after the incident that occurred when I was in 8th grade in 1978. Not even when I called him in 1995. But a few years later I recalled it, shared it with a colleague during my third year teaching and didn't say anything to Shaplow when I ran into him at the Westchester County Center when the Ardsley High basketball team was in the Section 1 playoffs.

But it is has been vivid in my mind for years and I have even shared it with classmates on Facebook. In fact one former classmate remembers the incident.

Back in 1978, the 8th grade had gone on a class trip. My recollection is we had gone to Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson. Someone else recalls it as we being at Rye Playland. What we both agree upon is the following: we were leaving and on the bus either getting ready to leave or had already left. I was sitting, not alone, in the front seat of the bus next to the door. Shaplow was sitting in the seat behind me. Shaplow then started talking to me.

"Hey, Zucker, how do you masturbate?"

 "How often do you masturbate?"

 He seemed quite interested in my responses.

At the time I was 14 years old. Legally, not an adult, but nothing more than a child who lived at home with mommy and daddy and still, I think, had a bedtime.

Stupidly, I engaged Shaplow in this conversation and after the bus ride that was the end of it. But who knows how Shaplow was affected and in what manor.

I guess when I started teaching I looked back on it and realized it was fucked up for a teacher who was at the time 28 years old to be engaging in this perverse type of conversation with a 14 year old boy.

I never told my parents. I never told the principal at the middle school. Not until I was an adult and teaching and knew of that any and all of my actions as a teacher would have both negative and positive ramifications on my students did I share this experience. But I am happy I did. I got validation.

I have kept quiet. But no more. My wife had been violated as a young girl. I know others that have been violated as well. What I went through in no way compares to what these others have gone through. But.

Was Shaplow's banter an attempt at grooming? He knew how fucked up my home life was. And if this was "grooming" was I the only 14 year old boy he attempted this with in his 30+ years of teaching? And if this was "grooming," did his attempts ever come to fruition in his 30+ years of teaching?

What does the Ardsley Union Free School District and the Ardsley Police Department know? What does the community of Ardsley know?

Let's just get one thing straight. Whether he was doing it to be a smart ass, a comedian, thought he was being hip, or any benign reason, Shaplow fucked up and was wrong. If this was his grooming methodology, there are not enough words to say what should or should've happened.

Hopefully, some good can come of this. Perhaps Shaplow not only talked to another 14 year old boy in this manner, but worse, took it to another level.

I know without a shadow of a doubt that Shaplow spoke to me in this manner. He was wrong. He was unprofessional. He violated the trust between student and teacher. This needs to be out there.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mazel Tov UFT!!

A hearty handshake is extended from us here at SBSB to our leadership at the UFT for not only being at the forefront, but for having the foresight, to not only oppose Proposition 1 in this past Tuesday's statewide vote, but also in the defeat of the aforementioned proposition. Kudos!

Not only that, the UFT is publicly preening itself in self-adulation as a teenage boy who has lost his virginity in playing its part. Yes, the emails, the phone calls, the robo-calls, and even the text messages from real people got 82% of voters to say heck no to Prop 1.

Just how much is the UFT kvelling in it's unprecedented "win?" Let's just look at Facebook...

So here is what I, and I am sure many others want to know. Why can't the UFT put the same time and effort in for its members that it does for defeating a NYS Constitutional Convention?

Why can't the UFT put the time and effort into doing away with the fair student funding which is keeping many qualified teachers from permanent positions?

Why can't the UFT put the time and effort into fixing the ATR problem?

Why can't the UFT put the time and effort into exposing abusive principals?

Why can't the UFT put the time and effort into make our union a true democratic union in which different ideas are debated and respected?

Why can't the UFT put the time and effort into enforcing our collectively bargained contract?

Why can't the UFT put the time and effort into ensuring that every member, whether active or inactive gets every last cent due them of monies owed since 2009, regardless on how one left the DOE?

Why can't the UFT put the time and effort to have ensured that we all get our retro in one sum, in 2015, instead of waiting until 2020 or 2021, both over a decade from when we should have had a contract and a raise.

Why can't the UFT put the time and effort into just doing the right thing? Really? Is it that difficult?

My dad used to tell me you can do anything you want when you decide to put your mind to it. Maybe the UFT should listen to what my dad had to say.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Star Trek 3020-a: The Delight of Betsy Combier

Pay attention to the following. It all ties into the topic of today's blog post.

UPDATE 10/21/17 7:01 PM: Since no one has gotten the Star Trek reference (Gee, I thought ALL teachers were into Star Trek). 

In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Captain Kirk beams down to the Genesis planet to meat up with Carol Marcus. The Enterprise is in orbit, crippled by the barrage Khan unleashed using the hijacked USS Reliant. Spock using code to inform Kirk of ongoing repairs uses days instead of hours to let Kirk know how long it will take to facilitate repairs knowing that Khan will be listening in. Spock was using code. Basically saying the OPPOSITE of what is true!!!

When they beam aboard the Enterprise, 2 HOURS LATER, this conversation takes place:

Saavik: You lied!
Spock: I exaggerated. 

Perhaps I should have used this Seinfeld quote: 

"If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right."
- Jerry, to George, in "The Opposite"
Sorry for the mass confusion.

Kirk: Kirk to Enterprise.
Spock: Spock here.
Kirk: Captain Spock, damage report.
Spock: Admiral, if we go "by the book". like Lieutenant Saavik, hours could seem like days.
Kirk: I read you captain. Let's have it.
Spock: The situation is grave, Admiral. We won't have main power for six "days". Auxiliary power has temporarily failed. Restoration may be possible, in two "days". By the book, Admiral.


Got it?

If you hire Betsy Combier and her legal team, you have made a great decision! One that will ensure you many more years of teaching.

Betsy Combier is one of the finest legal minds of our time when it comes to defending teachers. 

Ethically, Betsy Combier is beyond reproach.

Betsy Combier is not a clown.

If you have Betsy Combier write your Article 75 appeal and notice there is mention that your probable cause rights were violated, well GOSH DARN, you can feel as if you won Powerball.

A judge has never shot down Betsy Combier's probable cause theories.

Betsy Combier is 100% selfless and never puts herself first. 

Betsy Combier does not chase windmills. 

Betsy Combier is always truthful. 

Betsy Combier will never tear down others to build herself up. 

Betsy Combier is always truthful and transparent about past cases she has been involved in. 

You will not regret your association with Betsy Combier.

Spock: Do not grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many, outweigh...
Kirk: The needs of the few.
Spock: Or the one.

Monday, October 16, 2017

New York Times and Reporter Kate Taylor Throw Francis Blake and ATRs Under The Bus

Usually when I awake I go to my phone and check the latest news. One news alert I received was from the NY Times concerned ATRs. I clicked and when I saw the photograph and the caption “PS 157” I shuddered. This is not going to turn out well.

My worst fears were confirmed with the first two words of the story, “Francis Blake.”

I know Francis extremely well. He’s a good friend and better person. He's also a damn fine teacher and is there for the students. He comes in, does his job and gets along with everyone. 
Francis has been a vendor at Yankee Stadium for over 40 years. If he knows you and sees you the first beer is on him. That’s the type of guy he is. 

Francis comes in and does what he is supposed to do. He gets along with everyone and is Mr Knowledge when it comes to US and World History. What elementary school wouldn’t want him to mine his depth of knowledge, his ability to share history as if he lived it, with its students? 

Francis Blake was railroaded at PS 157. But it was the school's (at the time) LIS Mychael Willon that put the nail in the coffin.

Willon was hired by the Klein regime even though a 1st grader with rudimentary internet search abilities would have discovered that Willon was forced to resign as Superintendent in Owego NY and turned down same position in Vermont due to claiming a doctorate through a diploma mill  and here  and that he was arrested a subsequently convicted for lewd and lascivious behavior in 1990 in a Wichita KS bookstore.

Francis’ mistake is he was not an administrator. Then he would have had carte blanche to do whatever he wanted to do.

One of the others involved in Francis’s framing was Donald Conyers, who is currently (I believe) super of Brooklyn HS’s. Conyers is one of the slimiest scummiest people ever in the DOE. I knew him when he was principal at PS 18 in D7 and I was a staff developer.  He never left his office. He was more interested in seeing dollars flow to him and chasing and bedding young female teachers. Oh, and having several AOL IM windows open on his computer chasing women online. 
I have briefly spoken with Francis. He was at the Columbia football game Saturday afternoon and from there he went to the Rangers game. I caught him between periods. Francis is curious as to how reporter Kate Taylor got his cell phone #, that Ms Taylor never inquired about the sleeping incident with Francis and the insubordination charges, in the words of Francis, are "bullshit!"
Two more things. According to the article, Ms Taylor somehow, someway, had access to the Excessed Staff Selection System...
 "The New York Times cross-referenced two sets of records: the Education Department’s Excessed Staff Selection System, which lists available staff and openings in the system"
Did the DOE give her access? If not it was an ATR, then an ATR that threw other ATRs under the same bus as the Times and Ms Taylor had?

Secondly, this from the article...
"In a system in which only 1 percent of teachers earn the lowest possible ratings, of ineffective or unsatisfactory, 12 percent of the teachers who were in the Absent Teacher Reserve at the end of the last school year had received one of those ratings in 2015-16."
Duh! Really? Why is there this disparity? An ATRs entire lesson during an observation can be perfect, but not enough students raise their hands, BINGO! The lesson is rated a U.

Sorry for being so long winded. In summation, Francis was screwed. How screwed? Read this.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Vaginagate: Where Was The UFT?

The New York Post had a story the other day in which a dance teacher was brought up on 3020-a charges because she had the audacity to ask cheerleaders who were cheerleading to be a tad more modest. How dare she!

According to the Post, the DOE spent over $300,000 prosecuting Karen Eubanks in which the arbitrator ruled that Ms Eubanks should get a letter to the file for she should not have used words like "vagina" and instead should have used the euphemism, "private parts."

So all that for what could have been from the outset just a letter to the file. What a waste.

The more shocking part is that the Post, yes the Post, has come out with an editorial speaking out against the persecution of Ms Eubanks.

Sadly the Post is silent with all the imprudent persecutions against teachers that could have saved the DOE millions is only handled at the school level between adults.

But what is confusing us here at SBSB is how the Post is speaking out in defense of Ms Eubanks while nary a word has been heard from 52 Broadway, the UFT, and UFT President Dunsel.

This all started in April 2016 and it can be save to say that the hearing was sometime earlier this year? Where was UFT President Dunsel's outrage? Where was his staunch defense of Ms Eubanks? Was he too busy with fabric and paint swatches for the new UFT Welcome Center and Spa at 52 Broadway?

Has much as one can or does disagree with the NYPD, it's officers, and the PBA, at least Patrick Lynch (whether or not he is wrong or right) speaks up and out for it's members.

John Samuelsen, the president of the TWU speaks out for his members as does the leaders of DC37, 1199, FDNY, Sanitation workers, gee, the list can just get too long.

What does a teacher get whilst they're being persecuted from the UFT leadership? SILENCE, whilst the UFT parties it up, thrice a year, at the Westchester Hilton (soon to be in Elmsford, Ardsley, Yonkers, Greenburgh, or White Plains).

Again, UFT and UFT President Dunsel, pay very close attention to the next paragraph;
Janus, Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus,  Janus, 
Got it? At the very least start acting like a husband that has been caught cheating and is trying to be on his best behavior for his bereaved wife.

Because if the UFT doesn't UFT President Dunsel will have to stop buying his suits at Barney's and instead buy them off the rack at Sears.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

SBSB Lends a Helping Hand to the UFT

Last month on these pages we opined about the coming end of days of the UFT due to a possible negative decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31. In fact the UFT, to either save money or for appearance sake, decided not to have their September retreat at the Rye Town Hilton, as has been the norm in the past, but rather at 52 Broadway, home of the UFT.


We here at SBSB are happy that the UFT decided to save money yet saddened for the UFT and others who looked forward to the glamor and frolicking in Westchester County.

The Crack Team wants to help.

The Crack Team has been in session for about a week to find suitable hotels in Westchester County that will put the glamor and camaraderie that every UFT retreat emboldens. The hotels are ranked in no particular order and have been thoroughly vetted to ensure that the utmost of glamor, stylings, and agreeabilty to the UFT's needs.

Disclaimer: At no time were the members of The Crack Team compensated by the hotels that made the list.

1. Yonkers

The Yonkers Gateway Motel, where hospitality is served with a smile!

This motel overlooking the former Putnam Railroad right-a-way (Train buffs will love this!) and on Yonkers Ave not far from the Yonkers Metro-North station is chock full of surprises. Some rooms have Jacuzzi's, some with water that has been actually changed. The Crack Team thinks UFT President Dunsel will love this place. At our night spent here we heard screaming for a deity many times coming from the rooms and we all know how President Dunsel sees himself. Trip Advisor rating 1 star!

2. Elmsford

The Elmsford Motel has been a mainstay of Elmsford for decades! This motel hard on Rt 119 and accessible from the Cross Westchester Expressway or the Saw Mill River Parkway has hourly rates in case the UFT wants to save money along with hourly turn down service just in case. Approximately 100 yards west from the motel is the El Dorado diner where the UFT can have it's meals. About 50 yards east and just on the other side of the parkway leads you to the shores Saw Mill River. A great place for team building activities as long as one doesn't mind all the shopping carts in the river.

3. Ardsley

Faux luxury awaits the UFT at two of (and only) Ardsley's famous motels. The Apple Motor Inn which is smack dab in beautiful downtown Ardsley and Ardsley Acres Hotel. Two hotels, more people, but bring those quarters! The Ardsley Acres has vibrating beds. And the security of the Apple Motor Inn can't be beat! It seems that the Ardsley Police Department is always there. Both motels are easy to get too. Right off exit 7 of the New York State Thruway. And, lest we forget, the Ardsley Acres is on the shore of the Saw Mill River!

4. Greenburgh

Right off of exit 4 of I-287 is the Alexander Motel. A place so popular that many people use it as it's residence. Though The Crack Team thinks this place might be haunted. All that was heard were the squeaking of beds all night long.

5. White Plains

Central Motel on, you guessed it, Central Ave (The Champs-Elysees of Westchester County) in White Plains. Perfectly located, across the street from McDonald's and it's meeting rooms. Sadly, rooms overlooking Central Ave have a 10% surcharge. While the UFT is there, all retreat members should stop over at Dante's Deli, which is just down the street. Tell Dante that The Crack Team sent you and get a 1/4 lb of imported Capicola on the house.

We here at SBSB and The Crack Team hope that this small list helps the UFT in any future retreats and/or events it plans in the future, especially if the US Supreme Court rules in favor of Janus.