Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pat Dawson 3020A Hearing Notes - CORRECTED

NOTE May 9: There was a mistake in the reporting on this story. Jo-Ann Demas contacted me to point out that she mistakenly labeled the snitch at the parent coordinator when it was really the PTA President, Louise Blaney. Please make note of that change. I'm reposting.

Original post: April 30.

I have been out of town and could not attend the hearings last week but did attend previous hearings. I still haven't written it all up but see below for previous posts related to the story. I can't not make the case of how ineffective the UFT has been in all aspects of this and so many other cases. Like how about at least some PR showing the persecution of teachers?


Notes from retired teacher Jo-Ann Demas
A case against High School of Economics and Finance teacher, Patricia Dawson, who made hyperbolic comments on Facebook, has just closed in a 3020(?) hearing. Principal Michael Stanzione charged the popular English teacher, who is African American, with termination. No letters in the file, no warnings just termination. In his summation, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) attorney Chris Callagy pointed out that Stanzione and the DOE ignored “the doctrine of progressive discipline.” What compounds this rush to judgment is that a teacher is being held to a standard that does not yet exist: There is not one word in the Chancellor’s guidelines about teachers using social media networks. It was established through hearing testimony of Principal Stanzione that during required professional development sessions at the HSEF no mention was made of social media networks.

One wonders what is behind the thrust of condemnation of this teacher. A formulation was offered inadvertently by DOE attorney, Andrea Chilaka. In her summation, she stated that “thanks to the Facebook postings, it was revealed (that)…this teacher had a special connection and rapport with her students.” Instead of being applauded for successfully reaching out and winning the confidence of her students, Ms. Dawson faces the loss of her job.

How Stanzione became aware of the FB quotes is an illustration of the brown-nosing atmosphere at many of our schools. The PTA President, Louise Blaney, who was a FB “friend” of the teacher, did not inform Ms. Dawson of her concerns. Instead, she immediately made a copy of the FB dialog and gave it to the principal. Stanzione called Ms. Dawson into his office NINE DAYS later. He expressed his concern. He did not order her to take down her page. The teacher took down her FB page on her own. She was removed from the school and charged.

Her attorneys advised her not to have contact with any students and to refrain from reaching out to apologize for possible damage. Her first opportunity to apologize was during her testimony at the hearing. Yet DOE attorney Chilaka criticized her for not apologizing earlier. Union attorney Callagy pointed out that no harm to students was proven by the teacher’s FB comments. The DOE “can’t discipline for what might happen.” Here is a situation where the teacher is being held to a higher standard than the DOE itself: “She should have realized her comments on FB postings go beyond HSEF,” admonished the DOE attorney. Meanwhile, many high school teachers including those at HSEF, use FB to communicate with their students. In this vacuum, the DOE still does not have a policy on social media networks yet is ready to pounce on a popular teacher.

Callagy reminded Josh Javits, the hearing officer, that there has never been a complaint against Ms. Dawson in the past. On the contrary her principal has written her letters of praise regarding her work as student affairs coordinator and “ambassador for HSEF at recruitment fairs.” The conclusion of the hearing heard the DOE attorney reiterate that the appropriate discipline should be “only termination.” It may take several weeks or months to find out the decision of the hearing officer. We’ll let you know the outcome and follow-up.

Previous posts:
The Michael Stanzione Files: As Case Falls Apart, ...
Educational Stop and Frisk Infects Schools: The Michael Stanzione Files Continued

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ISN'T IT TIME TO CHALLENGE THE UNITY CAUCUS MACHINE? CHECK OUT THE MOVEMENT OF RANK AND FILE EDUCATORS (MORE) THE NEW CAUCUS IN FORMATION, WORKING TO ESTABLISH A DEMOCRATIC FRAMEWORK FOR THE UFT. THE CAUCUS WILL NEED PEOPLE IN EVERY SCHOOL AS CONDUITS OF LITERATURE TO COUNTER THE UNITY MACHINE. YOU CAN JOIN THE CAUCUS ON MAY 12 AT THE NEXT MEETING. EMAIL ME FOR DETAILS. NORMSCO@GMAIL.COM

2 comments:

  1. Ask UFT/Unity what it's plans are for technology and privacy issues and job protection.

    ReplyDelete
  2. As an ATR currently assigned the Economics and Finance this week, some seniors in the library spoke very fondly of Ms. Dawson this morning.

    ReplyDelete

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