Every teacher in New York City has felt at least some of the pain that Francisco Garabitos exhibited last Friday when he allegedly barred himself in at MS 328 in Marble Hill and tried desperately to contact Randi Weingarten while rumors about a bomb and endangered children caused the police to evacuate the building. As the shocking nature of Garabitos actions settle down we now start to learn about some of the background to this incident. According to published reports Garabitos, the school’s Chapter Leader, was embroiled in a major battle with the school’s principal who appeared to disregard his Chapter’s concerns.
What has become more common since principals have been given more authority has led to increased teacher turnover, 60% in Garabitos’ school in the last two years, and the Union doing nothing about it, leaving Garabitos and his Chapter to write a twenty teacher signed letter to the DOE to get some relief.
Why did Garabitos place a call with Weingarten? Did he recognize that contractually and practically the Union has left us out to dry and Weingarten’s access to the news media might be the only way to get the message across?
We don’t know what will happen with Garabitos other than he will probably stay in the rubber room for months and have no proper investigation done about any of the allegations that may be brought against him. Perhaps he knew that the removal will leave the Chapter in further disarray and send a message to all of the teachers left that they had better do as the principal orders…or else.
Judging by past experience it is clear that no matter how desperate the call there are very few at Tweed or 52 Broadway who will follow-up.
We feel your pain.