Thursday, November 14, 2013

Portelos Hearing Update: DOE Legal Chilling Attempt to Suppress Teachers Who Fight Back Publicly

Callagy said the DOE claim will have a chilling effect on teacher rights to go to court to defend themselves. With an air of disgust he then dismissed the witness.
TODAY
Yesterday we heard two anti-Portelos witnesses, both teachers at the school, as DOE legal attempts to paint Portelos' attempts to fightback as "undermining" and "creating a bad tone" in the school and place all blame on him. The very idea that Portelos was responding to an assault is off the table to the DOE.

We heard testimony from two members of the anti-Portelos pro-principal Linda Hill wing about how "together" the staff was BEFORE the attack on Portelos by the school administration and how the school is now divided into 2 camps. Blame is heaped on Portelos for taking strong actions to defend himself.

Of course when Francesco gets to present his case there will be loads of teachers coming forth to present his side.

Many of the 38 charges against Portelos are related to the way he defended himself (though they are trying to trump up some bullshit using the network curriculum specialist as a foil that he was not really a good teacher). But I was still stunned to hear DOE  lead lawyer Jordana Shenkman basically claim that teachers could be terminated for defending themselves.

This was made clear when even NYSUT lawyer supreme, Chris Callagy, expressed surprise when Shenkman objected to his attempt to use the DOE witness' deposition in Portelos' federal case to demonstrate serious discrepancies in her testimony (see below for an example).

Shenkman claimed that Portelos' federal lawsuit and the testimony therein had no relevance in this case. And in fact the DOE is trying to claim Portelos should be fired because actions such as the Portelos blog and the federal lawsuit were disruptive to the tone of the school. Truly 1984 double think territory.

Chris was demonstrating how blatantly the witness lied and claimed loss of memory in yesterday's testimony (MOREistas Paul Hogan, David Dobosz and I just kept looking at each other in disbelief). In any court if a witness' testimony at different times shows blatant discrepancies, that is called lying. (Will the DOE bring the witness up on charges for lying under oath?)

Callagy said the DOE claim will have a chilling effect on teacher rights to go to court to defend themselves. With an air of disgust he then dismissed the witness.

Afterburn:
One of the letters in Portelos' file was the claim he called this witness a "fuck" during a heated argument (which he denies). "Unprofessional behavior" of some kind is the charge. The witness was supported by the then chapter leader (who is due to testify tomorrow.)  

But oops. Portelos recorded the event: Portelos denies ever using the term and can prove it since he recorded it.

But the tape sure caught the witness red-handed.
 
Paraphrasing Callagy: During your deposition in the case brought by Portelos you admitted that before P used foul language you called him a fuck'n idiot. You also called him a piece of shit and fuck'n nasty?

Somehow this info was not reported to the principal, Linda Hill. Or it was and irrelevant given the attempt to railroad a teacher for daring to raise questions.

And how about DOE Legal which will go after a teacher for calling another a fuck in response to a verbal assault but then uses the very perpetrator against him?

One of the major calls for changes at Tweed should be the elimination of the criminals at DOE Legal. Sure we want to get rid of bad teachers but let's have rational people in charge who will not go on witch hunts.


16 comments:

  1. Sorry. Just to be clear, that objection was sustained by the hearing officer?

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    1. She did not sustain - sort of overruled. She allows a lot of leeway. Still didn't make much difference but might when he presents his case.

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  2. The NYC DOE lies with impunity. These people are criminals.

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  3. I thought he was still the chapter leader???

    I find it amazing that any teacher would want to destroy the reputation of another teacher.

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    1. All 3 or 4 attempts to recall Portelos have been turned away. So much for the fear factor in the school. Rich Candia was the chapter leader -- who ran on the New Action slate I believe in the 2010 elections. By the way -- New Action told Portelos they would try to help -- has anyone seen someone from New Action at the Portelos hearings where there have been between 2 and 5 MOREistas attending?

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  4. Was Portelos' recording played at the hearing yet? I can't believe that prior statements that are part of a court record are not deemed relevant in this hearing. Thanks for keeping us posted, Norm. And shame on that chapter leader---he is a disgrace.
    Roseanne, Bronx teacher

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    1. The tape has not been played yet. But Portelos has it up on his site.

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  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. I haven't been at all the hearings but I haven't heard that name. But wait till I write about the supposed misuse of computers -- one of the biggest jokes that also point out the utter incompetence technology wise at IS 49 once P left and by the DOE investigative slugs. Like charging him with going to real estate sites but having no time stamp on when that happened which means anyone could have done it and trumped it up - even after he was out of the school -- in fact going to sites leaves a time stamp automatically so that they are not there is a sign that the DOE people took them off themselves.

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  6. Norm-As you know, I do at times read your blog-I find the previous post to be quite offensive. My feeling is that you too, after taking another look at it, will feel the same way and take it down. How can you put something in print for just anyone to read that can screw with someone's family life. Do you even know the poster? Which, if you did is still not reason enough to put up a post like that-Joel P.S.-you do not have to post my entry if you prefer

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  7. C'mon now Norm, you call that a retraction! You guys are supposed to be educators, not gossip columnists! This certainly seems like the guys backing Portelos will stoop to the lowest levels to attempt to prove that Mr. Portelos is being railroaded. I know that it has been a long and winding road, but why not let it play out in this hearing. MOST CERTAINLY character assassination will not help matters and is totally uncalled for. You allowed your blog to go the way of Jerry Springer and Dr. Phil. I am sure that points can be made without getting down and dirty. My question is "WHERE ARE THE TEACHERS IN HIS PARTICULAR SCHOOL POSTING?" This board should be teeming with posts from Mr. Portelos' school. They can post as the other esteemed poster did and many people including myself do-ANONYMOUSLY. Does he really have his colleagues' support?- are they too lazy?- or is it that they just don't give a damn? Yeah, I know the story about him being elected CC Still unclear about that "no voting???' procedure Or… sometimes the wrong people carrying the right message may be too overboard to actually bring it home. I will entertain this no more-Yes-POST THIS-Joel

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    1. When people try to lift someone's livelihood all is fair.
      They go after people for so much less than they do themselves.
      The more I watch the hearings the more despicable they are.
      You should be outraged at the hundreds of thousands of dollars this is costing over crap rather than at the people exposing the slugs involved in this.
      When the transcripts are published you should read them.

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    2. Principals like Linda Hill target staff members who voice opposition and people wonder why those who post comments want to remain anonymous. The DOE conducts a witch hunt and calls a witness who lies (listen to the audio link and you clearly hear Portelos being screamed and cursed at). OSI continues to stall the investigation of Hill's alleged double dipping. All of this and Norm is reprimanded for not playing fair. AWWW poor little baby DOE educrats are getting their feelings hurt. Stay the course, Norm! There's a saying where I come from--- "YOU started it." If they can't take the heat then they should stop harassing Portelos.
      Roseanne McCosh, Bronx teacher

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    3. I'm jumping in here. I do so daring anyone to raise concerns that I had a "public discussion" not involving details of what has transpired in the hearing. Go ahead...give more ammo to my Federal case. Ridiculous. I'm out of the classroom for 571 days now. 571 days. You know how many students I could have taught? How many I could have created a spark in and that could have lead to a career in engineering, architecture, video editing, graphics design, animation, robotics, audio editing, web design, programming.... shall I continue? 571 days. I can't wait to testify under oath. When I'm done I'm going to drop the mic. (I have to find a mic somewhere).

      571 days and I'm under at least two NEW investigations by SCI. Wait until my posts coming up this week on www.educatorfightsback.org

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  8. Hey-Nice arguing with you Norm-I see that you took my advice! What Ms. McCosh says bears merit. However, what she was not aware of is that the people who were previously targeted by the poster are not the ones who "started the fire". In fact, I believe that one of them had absolutely no connection to the case at all!!! The one witness who I believe does have knowledge and connection to the case has, according to you, not even testified yet. ENJOY THE FOOTBALL GAMES!-Joel

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