Still setting it straight!
The response to my post I need to Set the Record Straight has been overwhelming. The level of support and words of encouragement shown by my readers and colleagues throughout the nation demonstrates the importance of communicating in this new digital world we find our selves in. I have refrained from updating on my predicament in hopes that everything would be resolved, and the proper apologies and record straightening would happen. Unfortunately I am starting to believe that these apologies may never happen, and once again adults will have failed to set a proper example for the children whose lives we touch every day.
That said, it’s time for an update;
Just to recap, I was accused of posting a Pearson test question on Twitter. I was placed on administrative leave, escorted out of my room by my superintendent of schools, ultimately escorted out of the building and ordered not to return until New York State ruled on my guilt or innocence . Twenty four hours later, NYS ruled I did no wrong and I was informed that I was no longer a threat and could return to my classroom. I have been demanding a public apology from the Superintendent, as well as my school board. To date that apology has not happened.
I have since learned that the very same math problem that I was accused of copying, was published in Long Island’s largest newspaper several months ago and in our high school paper two weeks before I posted it.The same problem is also given as an explicit example in the Common Core Standards as well. So much for the intensive investigation my superintendent allegedly performed!
Over the past two weeks I contacted each member of the school board personally and stated my case and requested a public apology. Each and everyone of them ignored my correspondence, until I received a very curt response from the Board President, who basically claimed the Superintendent did what he had to do. My student’s parents, in the meantime, have rallied to my cause and have embraced me in ways I can’t even express without getting emotional. They too have contacted the same Board demanding and apology on my behalf as well as my student’s behalf. By the way several of these parents are now candidates for the school board.
Last night our school board had their regularly scheduled meeting. I sat in the front row patiently waiting for my turn to speak. When the public comment session began a parent came up and told the board that teachers should be respected, and that the recent actions from the Superintendent should be addressed. He drove home the point that his community was one that embraces teachers and supports them anyway they can. Without naming names he drove home his message that I was treated poorly. He ended to a standing ovation from most of those in the room.
I then approached the podium, and explained how much I loved teaching. I was expecting to be shut down at any moment however, I reminded the board I even went to this very same school as a child, and that I consider myself a part of this community with a long history within it. I explained calmly how I was removed from my class, escorted down the hall, given orders that forbade me from even returning to my room for any personal possessions without an escort. I explained how my students had to face the 6th day of extensive testing that lasted 540 minutes without the emotional support of their teacher. I explained how teachers should never be treated they way I was, how my Superintendent did a terrible job investigating the accusation and that my removal from the classroom was unwarranted.
I also expressed my own personal displeasure with the board that they failed to respond to my correspondence with even an acknowledgement of receipt. I explained employees should never be treated they way I was. As I spoke, I looked every board member in the eye, my Superintendent never looked up. I notice nods of approval and signs of their own uncomfortable standing. I closed that the board should have said, we are sorry for what you went through and that the public should recognize that I did nothing wrong.
I then sat down.
There was an uneasy silence for a moment, then I noticed most of those in the room stood up and applauded my comments.
The meeting was called to a close, not one board member spoke up. Nothing! No acknowledgement! Nothing, meeting over!
I stood there in stunned silence then a board member approached me, apologizing for my predicament. I politely thanked him, but also told him that his apology really wasn’t worth anything, unless he made it from the table during the meeting. He then informed me that its not over, the board has some serious work to do and to be patient. I accept his word on that for now.
Another board member then approached with a similar message. As I scanned the room, I noticed parents lecturing board members and demanding a wrong me righted.
I also promised those two board members, that I’m not done. I will continue argue for an apology that is due. A board member explained to me that we are all aware teachers seem to have targets on their back lately and that’s unfortunate. I politely agreed and explained how it’s even more important that our own superintendents shouldn’t take shots at that target as well.
The bottom line.. teachers have become our nation’s scapegoats. I refuse to accept that, I refuse to be treated like I am an indentured servant. We are professionals, we are highly qualified, we are well educated, we have our nation’s future in our hands. Stay tuned…