Allegations of misconduct

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by beaglelvr, May 20, 2009.

  1. beaglelvr

    beaglelvr Rookie

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    May 20, 2009

    I just discovered these boards today and I'm so thankful to be able to connect here.

    I was forced out of my job after a couple of students made allegations against me. As part of their "investigation" the District pulled in other students and used a "when did Mr. Smith stop beating his wife" strategy, putting words into kids mouths that eventually became written statements. Six adults who were with me at the time of the alleged incident testified that nothing had happened - but according to those adults, the District did not write or record those statements.

    As part of their strategy to get rid of me, the District RIF'd my position for the coming year, and then finally, after two months of investigation during which time I was in my classroom, they suspended me on administrative leave for the rest of the year.

    According to the Union lawyer, there is nothing else we can do. The only relief I could get from the District if we WERE to fight it, is back pay and benefits, which they're giving me...

    They also reported me to the state's licensing office, which did their own investigation and dismissed the allegations.

    However, it seems like I'm hosed. I had lunch with my former (retired) principal and asked him what the hiring process is like. He basically said that in our little state, references are checked via personal "How's the wife and baby" type phone calls. The District is offering only to provide a letter (and the letter is more damning than helpful, since it only confirms facts and does not talk about my GLOWING reviews).

    I wonder if anyone has any insights. I'm reeling - how can this be America if I have to accept that my ENTIRE FUTURE is in jeopardy without a chance to prove my innocence?

    Thanks.
     
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  3. AMB

    AMB Rookie

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    May 20, 2009

    Oy. I'm sorry. That's really rough. I don't have any advice, but good luck!
     
  4. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    May 20, 2009

    I'm guessing you might need to try for a job through a charter or private school (depending on the allegations). you may even have to take an aide position or something to get your foot in the door. If you do a good job there, you can recover after time. But it will take time.

    At least the liscensing office found no wrong doing, right???

    It is crazy how vulnerable we could all be~~ without proof. I think it's rare, but not impossible.
     
  5. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    May 21, 2009

    That's so horrible! I hope you find your way out of this nightmare soon!
     
  6. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

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    May 21, 2009

    This is such a tough situation to be in! I wish I had some advice for you.

    I have been on both sides of this situation. I have witnessed a colleague being falsely accused. I have also witnessed a teacher getting away with misconduct. As a result I have seen that no matter which side, the stakes are incredibly high. It is very difficult from the witnessing parties to know what is true and what is not. Of course I know this is no consolation but the explanation at least helped me to understand why witnesses were so quick to be suspicious.

    I hope some evidence comes up that proves your innocence, and I hope you are able to continue your teaching career.
     
  7. beaglelvr

    beaglelvr Rookie

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    May 21, 2009

    Hi, thank you.

    @jeannie - right, the state DOE dismissed the charges

    @blindteacher - unfortunately there can never be "evidence" - the allegations were all student hearsay and worse

    Does anyone have any experience with private attorneys or Union attorneys?
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    May 21, 2009

    You have grounds to sue if what has been disproved is still costing you your livelihood. I think it's called defamation of character. Go get 'em!
     
  9. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    May 21, 2009

    If you are in the union, the union will help pay for all or a portion of the attorney fee. Have you been in contact with your union? I hope you contacted them straight away when this started. That is what you pay your dues for. IF not, contact them right this second and get help.

    I am so sorry this has happened to you
     
  10. beaglelvr

    beaglelvr Rookie

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    May 21, 2009

    INteacher - thank you. Yes, I have representation thru the union. But it seems very much in this case that the Union is "in bed" with the admins (sorry, that's a crude way to put it, but y'all get the gist, I'm sure).

    It seems that to the union lawyer, my case is small potatoes, and my position was only 1/2 time (ha ha - they got 40+ hour weeks out of me).

    I guess I should bite the bullet and call an employment lawyer to see if I can force the District to either prove me guilty (which they can't) or provide me with the reference I would have gotten if the allegations hadn't come up.

    And the "personnel file" - can that help me? It's only positive, but according to my ex-principal, no one can look at it. If that's the case, what good does it do? :)
     
  11. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    May 21, 2009

    I'm pretty certain that by federal law you can look at your own personnel files. This way you can check to be certain there are no blackmarks. If the union won't help you, then it sounds like you do need a lawyer. This is absolute defamation of character.
     
  12. skittleroo

    skittleroo Connoisseur

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    May 21, 2009

    There is a difference between the case being dismissed and being cleared of allegations.

    Dismissed means the investigation didn't turn up proof, evidence to pursue discipline hearing.
     
  13. beaglelvr

    beaglelvr Rookie

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    May 22, 2009

    @jennie - right. The dilemma is that I don't see a clear procedure for being cleared of the allegations. The District didn't have to investigate; they can terminate at will. The recourse is to fight that through the grievance procedure culminating in arbitration.

    According to the NEA lawyer, there is no value in pursuing that because even if the judge ruled in my favor all I would get is back pay and benefits.

    But that doesn't seem right... since they CLEARLY RIF'd me for cause rather than budgetary reasons... and because of the recommendation piece.

    I need to find an Atticus Finch, I guess. I need a lawyer with a strong sense of moral outrage; a soldier for justice, with teeth of steel.

    Anger is a nice change from suicidal thoughts... and merlot ;)
     
  14. sk8enscars311

    sk8enscars311 Companion

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    May 22, 2009

    Wow, that really sucks. You should come work in my home county. Even if you had done something, you'd be fine. The middle school band director was accused of touching girls in the cafeteria during his lunch duty and flirting with them (asking them to bend over or jump up and down). The administration rewarded him by "not letting" him do lunch duty anymore. There have been several other accusations as well (my niece goes there). It's not pretty.

    Okay, done hijacking. Hope you get everything figured out and sorry I don't have any real advice!
     

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