In the world of the Department of Education, when one fights back against a boss, the retaliation is usually swift and forceful. That is what is now happening to Assistant Principal Marc Einsohn at John Bowne High School who sued Principal Howard Kwait in April for punishing him for refusing to go along with grade fixing.
Did a lawsuit stop the principal? The answer is a clear no. In the current environment created by Michael Bloomberg, Joel Klein, Dennis Walcott, Bill de Blasio and Carmen Farina, Kwait responded to the charges by turning up the heat on the retaliation. The lawsuit has been amended, as this local Times Ledger story shows, to add on more allegations.
As many here know, Kwait is no stranger to being sued and costing the city money. From Times Ledger:
This is the fifth suit brought against Kwait during his time as principal at the Flushing High school. In November 2016, former guidance counselor Lauren Prettitore sued Kwait for sexual harassment. In 2015, the city settled for $275,000 with teachers Maria Catenacci and Sally Maya, who sued over sexual harassment as well. In 2012, the city settled for an undisclosed amount with an assistant principal who accused Kwait of discriminating against her because she was pregnant, according to the New York Post. The city also paid $225,000 in a settlement over a student who was falsely accused of sending threatening e-mails.
As we have documented here, Kwait is not an isolated repulsive principal in Queens High Schools. It took a monumental effort from an entire school community to have one acting principal not obtain a permanent position at Townsend Harris. The rest of these principals go merrily along abusing staff with impunity. One small school principal is now charging multiple tenured teachers and a counselor in state dismissal hearings. Another is placing in excess people who filed grievances and giving them adverse job performance evaluations. Do you think the remaining people in those schools are going to stand up for their rights?
Schools succeed when administration and staff work together to serve the students. Anything less than that will usually lead to major problems. The goal of the DOE should be to get people to work collegial way and when that isn't happening, to find solutions and not punish people who speak up.
As for the UFT, there is a NY Teacher article on the agricutural program at John Bowne High School in the latest issue. I understand the current lawsuit is from an assistant principal, but UFT members have been victimized in the past by Kwait (see above) and probably some are in trouble today. Why promote this school?