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.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.
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 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.