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.