I'm a little late to this blog party as Leonie Haimson at the NYC Parents Blog and Chaz have already posted on Sue Edelman's excellent piece on how principals sexually harassing teachers is usually unpunished by the NYC Department of Education. The UFT has passed a resolution to say there should be fair investigations. OK, but the UFT has been very silent about actual cases of sexual harassment that have merit. The NYC schools didn't always have a culture that looked the other way at sexual harassment among principals.
Back in the late 1990's we had a principal at Jamaica High School who was accused by two teachers of sexual harassment. The allegations were investigated in a timely manner by the Board of Education's Office of Equal Opportunity and the allegations were found to have merit in June. By the following September, the principal was reassigned to a district office. When the DOE under Mayor Bloomberg in 2003 tried to put this principal in another school, the public outcry forced them to backtrack almost immediately.
The Bloomberg-Chancellor Joel Klein theory that principals can do no wrong as long as they can produce higher test scores has led to this corrupt culture where just about anything goes for principals.
This leads to an important question: Why didn't the UFT expose these principals who were sexually harassing members?
That is answered by Shaunte Penniston, a teacher who sued for sexual harassment and has prevailed.
From Sue Edelman's piece in the NY Post:
Penniston complained to the teachers union, which did nothing, she told The Post. "My claims fell on deaf ears. They were waiting for me to be assaulted before taking any action. I felt like a sitting duck."
Yes, this is one example. However, can anyone find a school where the union came charging in like the cavalry to reign in a principal who was harassing UFT members and then publicized it to encourage teachers that they can fight back? Need we say anything more about the uselessness of the United Federation of Teachers in this decade.
I keep saying that we need a union and we certainly do.
The question is this: Do we even have one now?
Back in the nineties, the UFT supported our efforts to reign in the principal who was sexually harassing teachers.