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Old 10-08-2012, 02:01 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 8,888

"Rubber Rooms" for NY teachers still exist

In the teacher threads, I've made mention of the so called Rubber rooms and have been told time and time again that they have done away with them.

Apparently not.



Staten Island teacher Francesco Portelos has been streaming live video of his stint in a pseudo Department of Education “rubber room” as he awaits a disciplinary hearing for charges dating back to April.

The DOE’s so-called “rubber rooms” -- where teachers under investigation were sent to do nothing all day while still collecting their salaries -- were supposedly done away with in 2010. Instead, teachers were to be assigned administrative duties.

Some teachers, however, have said that they are not actually being assigned duties while their hearings are pending -- a claim that appears bolstered by Portelos’s live video feed uploaded Thursday.

In the video, Portelos can be seen sitting alone in an empty conference room with his laptop, the day’s papers and a sign proclaiming “I’d rather teach!!” He also has a miniature “Don’t Tread On Me” flag on display.

Portelos' story echoes that of numerous New York teachers, most notably that of Roland Pierre, who by 2010 had been rubber-roomed for 13 years, collecting $100,000 annually in salary and benefits well past the minimum retirement age. He was taken out of the classroom in 1997 after being accused of sexual misconduct with a student, and the city didn't want to reinstate him in a teaching role. The trouble: the city also struggled to fire him.

The city has fought for years to fire teachers accused of various forms of sexual misconduct. Although independent arbitrators found evidence of wrongdoing, they decided that the educators' offenses were not grounds for firing, and instead issued mild penalties like a fine, and sent back to the classroom.

School officials say their hands are tied. Under New York law, tenured teachers have the right to a hearing with an arbitrator before they can be fired, and can appeal an arbitrator's ruling in civil court. While the Department of Education can also appeal an arbitrator's decision to state courts, legal standards for overturning those rulings are very difficult to meet.
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