Teacher without a Country
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How Can This Be?
For the last four years, I have been fighting Spokane School District 81 over bullying, abusive behavior that denied me a fair and equal opportunity to compete for teaching position. The last few years have been a nightmare for me.† Iíve spent that time trying to piece back my life and gain control of my mental and physical well being. As I look back, what happen to me started many, many years ago?† At that time, what I experienced back than would come and haunt me in the present. †
I graduate from Whitworth College in January1996 with a Master-in Teaching.† I started subbing for District 81in September of 1995. My goal was to sub for a few years to work myself into the system for a full time teaching position. In time, I found out that wasnít how things worked in the school district. †
†Moreover, I participated in a new federal program, Troops for Teacher, which encouraged the hiring of veterans as teachers.† There was a $50,000 grant that would be prorated over a five year period if a school hired Troops for Teacher participates.† This was a great program and a way to get my foot in the door and the rest would be left up to me.† Again, in time, I learned how the Spokane School District 81 leadership really felt about veterans. †
My first reality check in how our education system really worked behind the mask of promoting teamwork.† While sitting in the teacher lounge, I over heard teachers talking about what they would do to someone who caused them problems or reported on them.† They would spread the word to insure they wouldnít get any work. Part of subbing we were required to fill out a form evaluating the teacherís lesson plans.† These same comments were made at several other schools in the district.† I choose to eat my lunch in the classroom and not to fill out the evaluation forms any more. †
The next teacher lounge experience was having polite conversation with other teachers.† As a substitute teacher, most of the time, you were asked why you became a teacher or what you did before becoming a teacher.† I would proudly tell them I was in the military or retired from the military.† Instead of getting ďthank you for your serviceĒ, I got hateful derogatory comment about the military and what they thought of our military.† This happened in many times in many different schools. These unexpected hateful words caused me to stop saying I was retired military or was in the military. †
These words and actions, years later, reminded me how are brave young men and women were treated coming home from Vietnam. As I found out later, this was coming from the top leadership of Spokane School District 81. †
After two years of subbing, without one job interview, I decided to diverse my experience and worked for District 81 as a tutor.† We would tutor kids at home or in the hospital and worked with students who were suspended or working their way back into school. You worked closely with their classroom teacher. After my third year, I still couldnít get any job interviews. †
I decided to sit down and talk to human resource (HR) director about why I couldnít get any job interviews. My supervisor sent an e-mail introducing me to the HR director† I called the next week to make an appointment.† I talked to the secretary asking for an appointment.† Instead of getting an appointment, I got twenty questions.† The secretary asked me a question or two and then talk to the HR director.† This continued for about ten minutes.† The last question I was asked was ďWhat do you do for the district?Ē† I told her and she hung the phone on me.† I learned that day some jobs in the district were looked down by human resource, superintendent, and the school board. This reminded me of India's caste system; substitute teachers and tutors, who were certified teachers, were part of the Harijan caste-the untouchables. †
The next two years I worked in special programs for the school district.† One of these programs was an early intervention program. It is here, I learned another good lesson how far some teachers and administrators will go to protect themselves and blamed it on others for their own failings.† †
The first incident was at a school where I was dealing with a young boy who had behavior problems.††One day, I was told to restrain this student.† In my experience, there was no need for restraining him if he wasn't a threat to himself or others.† The individual, a psychologist or councilor, I told him I haven't been trained in how to restraint a student properly.† He told me he would instruct me and†if I refused I won't be working any more.† I did, with regrets, and reported this to my supervisor. I tried many times over to get trained in how to restraint a student.†Especially, I was currently working with students with behavioral problems. The district refused to give me any training.† This was the†last time I†restraint a student and refuse to restraint any student without proper training.
† †The next incident I was assigned to a third grade boy who had behavior and sight difficulties. My primary duties were dealing with behavior issues and academics. Unlike other assignment there was no collaboration between anyone, any behavior plan or goals for the student. I took it upon myself to write up a behavior plan and goals for the student. I gave a copy to the principal and teacher. I found the teacherís copy in the trash and the principal never got back with me. As time went by, it came obvious why I was there. It wasnít for my assigned student.
The principal would try to get me to do other duties than what was agreed upon when I started this assignment. All additional duties other agreed upon they needed my supervisorís approval. This was for liability reasons. The principal in time became very impatient with me telling her I need my supervisorís approval. It came to head one day when I was summoned to the principalís office.
The principal demeanor became more abusive and derogatory when I kept telling her I didnít work for her. She stated, ďas long as Iím in this school I work for her and she will assign any duties to me.Ē My response was that I donít work for you, but work with you in dealing with my assigned student. I got up and walked out of the school. I called my supervisor, told her what had transpired and, stated under no terms, I wasnít going back in that school. It caused me to lose work and money by walking away from this job. Nobody deserves to be abused, degraded and treated in an unprofessional manner. †
The third incident I was assigned to a young girl who had behavior problems. I was impressed with the collaboration in developing a behavior plan, goals, and a support system, and how they included me in this process. Everything was going very well. The young girl was making progress with her behavior and academics. However, this changed one day. There was an incident at home, where there was no parent supervision, which had nothing to do with the school, but should have raised some red flags. Again, as time went by the incident didnít change the positive changes we were seeing at school.
This all change because of the teacherís unfounded fears. The teacher was an exceptional teacher, but once this incident became known to her it changed her perception of the student. She threw out all the positive progress and substituted her fears. She continually asked me if I saw anything to with her aggressive behavior. I said no and talked about her continuing positive progression. This fear consumed her and she slowly disengaged the student and isolated her by not getting her involved in the class. We had several conversations about this and she realized that I wasnít seeing what she wanted me to see. I got pushed aside and couldnít work with the student. This continued until my assignment ended.
The finally incident I got fired from an assignment. My new assignment was to a boy in an Apple program, a high intense, self-managing classroom program for students. The young boy was diagnosis with ADHD and I worked very closely with his mother. In fact, they inspired me to get my special education endorsement and help find my educational calling; working with special education students.
There were two incidents that led to my firing. First, the student was running around the classroom right before class was out for the day. He crawled under a table were the students were standing to be dismissed from class. Instead of trying to get him out from the table, I waited until all the students left the room. Between his mother and me, we got him out from the table and out the door. The next day I found out the teacher complained, without talking to me first, about me not having control of the situation. I said nothing.
The second incident happen when the student stepped out of his box. The student had to sit in a taped area, a box, and couldnít leave his box without permission. A female classmate dropped her crayon and coloring pencil box. He got up, with me standing there watching him, and helped his classmate pick up her crayons and color pencil. The teacher came over and grasped him and put him in his box. She let loose a verbal tongue lashing that was wronged an inappropriate.
After school, I talked to the teacher one on one. Being in the military as a supervisor and manager, I knew how to appropriate address what happen in the classroom. I told her that she was wrong what she did and I was in control of the situation. We were supposed to be working together for the success of the student. I also address the issue of her going to the principal before talking to me. The next day I found out she went to the principal and I got fired from the job for defending a student and myself. I never blamed her for what happen she was over whelmed, little or no support, and was a young teacher new to the Apple program.
At the end of my fifth or sixth year of working for Spokane School District 81, I still couldnít get an interview with the district. I contacted, through email, the human resource director, Staci Vesneske, responsible for hiring and made an appointment. Two weeks later, I sat in her office that would have passed a white glove test. As I sat next to her bare clean desk, looking at a big column of pictures on the wall. I had a bad feeling. Staci Vesneske came in an introduce herself and left again to get my file.
I asked her why I couldnít get any job interviews for a teaching positions. Director Vesneske talked about a rating system I never heard about. Nor was this rating system mention in their substitute handbook. I kept quizzing her on the system because she was giving very vague answers. The more I asked questions the more agitated she got. When I tried looking at my file, Staci Vesneske pulled it away my eyesight. I told her my different experiences and assignments I did for the district. In a derogatory voice, Staci Vesneske stated, ďThe only experience that counts is actually teaching experience and you have none. We hire only experienced teachers.Ē This was a lie. They were hiring new teacherís right out of college.
I provided her a copy of the introduction letter talked about the Troops for Teacher program and the $50,000 grant. I discussed my leadership, supervisory, training skills from my military background. Again, in a derogatory demeaning, and discriminatory voice Staci Vesneske stated, ďYour military experience means crap to teaching.Ē It is here I learned that being a veteran and having military background was not a good thing to have on a resume. It confirmed that what I experience in the past was coming from the top leadership in the district. Moreover, it became more plausible that veterans were being discriminated in the hiring process by the district.
What I tried to show with these incidents is a pattern of behavior that existed before my night mare experience in 2007. There was the behavior that administrator, teachers, and other educators looked down at you if worked in other areas of education. They didnít see you as certified teacher. The abusive, bullying, and verbal degradation by a teacher, principal or other educators happened because it was part of the culture and looked at as a badge of courage. There were discriminatory hiring practices going on especially towards the veterans. Moreover, those teachers and administrator, and other educators would put themselves first even at the expense of a student.
My four year nightmare started with a phone call. On May 21, 2007, the substitute desk person, Catherin Mullins, called and left me a message to call her. Due to a family emergency, we were up most of the night and I forgot to return the call. On May 24, while accessing the substitute system, I found out I was locked out. A call was placed to Catherin Mullins, the substitute desk supervisor, and was informed I was locked out of the system for not returning her call. My reply was ďWhy couldnít you call me again if it was that important enough for you to lock me out.Ē Mrs. Mullins never gave me answer.
The Human Resource and Equity director, Tennille Jefferies-Simmons wanted to talk to me about a sub job I did at Lincoln-Heights Elementary school. I asked what this is all about. She said she couldnít tell me why. She brought up another school because she just got the paper work a month after I subbed there. I had to look on the calendar I couldnít even remember being there at the school. Again, I ask what this is all about.
The sub desk person, Catherin Mullins, refused to tell me why human resource director wanted to talk to me. I asked her if this was any type of reprimand or counseling. If so, I wouldnít come in if this was any type of reprimand or counseling without knowing the why and all the details in writing. Mrs. Mullins assured me several times this wasnít any type of reprimand or counseling. All they want to do is talk to me. I ask what would happen if I choose not participate. The Mrs. Mullins said I wouldnít be able to work until I come in and talked to them. It seemed I had very little choice; because of the threat of losing work.
We made an appointment for the 24th May at 1500 hours at the district building on the second floor. As I enter the room, the human resource and equity director, Jefferies-Simmons was there with the Catherin Mullins. The Mrs. Mullins was taking notes of the meeting. The HR director pulled out five forms and started reading them to me. Jefferies-Simmons made no effort to provide me a copy of the write-ups/negative evaluations. I was stunned because I was totally unaware of these documents.
Yet, as Jefferies-Simmons read these secret documents they were very short and generalize. There was no specific information or details. I asked the director if she had the teacherís lesson plans and my notes from each class, this would have exonerated me from any wrong doing. Jefferies-Simmons acknowledged she didnít have any these documents with her. As she read the Lincoln-Heights write-up, with dismay and shock, I was being falsely accused of something I didnít do. Especially, since I was the one who reported the incident. The HR director admitted she read my note left for the teacher about the incident. However, Jefferies-Simmons didnít bring it to the meeting. The question that needs to be ask is why Jefferies-Simmons didnít bring this and other documentation to this meeting?
The most serious part of this write-up happened in the afternoon that day in May 2007. Iím going to quote from a letter I wrote to the Mr. Treppiedi, president of the school board.
On or about 1:30 pm, the student in question was supposed to work on an assignment. For whatever reason, he refused to work on it and told the Instructional Assistant (IA) he didnít want to the assignment. The student didnít say it in out of control voice, but in a calm regular voice. The IA stood over him, telling him to do his work. The IA kept prodding the student and pushing the student harder and harder. The student went from calm to out of control in a blink of an eye. I was in shock the IA kept prodding, prodding, and prodding the student knowing he would explode. What happen next, really sicken my stomach, was the condescending and derogative remarks the IA made to the student. The IA was putting down the student, thus, adding fuel to the fire.
The student was wrestled to his padded cage like a wild animal that was provoked into a screaming, kicking animal. The door was shut and I was given instruction by the IA not to check or monitor the student. After thirty minutes of screaming and hollering, there was not silence but a different tone with the student. My gut feeling told me something wasnít right, but I resisted checking on the student because of the instructions I was given by the IA. However, I finally had to check on the student and caught the student trying to get a draw string around his neck. In essence, the student was attempting to strangle himself. I informed the IA of the situation and she took care of the student. Once she shut the door she covered the only window to monitor the student. The IA told me not to go near the quiet room. She was furious with me. When I left around 3:15 the student was still in the room. I wasnít planning to leave a note I was sicken what I saw that afternoon. I changed my mind wrote a hastily note to the teacher of what transpired in the classroom.
A tidbit to note, I subbed in that same school on the following week on the same floor as the behavioral intervention room. Neither the behavioral teacher nor the administrator ever contacted me to get my side of the story what happen that day. The question that needs to be asked,Ē What caused the school to blame me for someone else wrong doings and why cover it up? ď
The human resource and equity director, Jefferies-Simmons, told me I was guilty based on my reaction in the room to the false and inaccurate allegations. It seems I was guilty by telling my side of the story to dispel the false and inaccurate allegations. In fact, there was no concrete information or details provided in the reports or by Jefferies-Simmons. I asked her who wrote up these erroneous reports. Jefferies-Simmons didnít reply.
During this meeting my abilities as a teacher and my character were under assault by the human resource and equity director. I felt not only disrespected, but humiliated. At the end, I felt helpless, and no matter what I said or evidence provided, human resource and equity director, Jefferies-Simmons, had her mind made up before I came in the room. I was judge, convicted and sentence by this human resource and equity director in a make-shift kangaroo court. This director of human resource and equity action said not all people needed to be treated equal. Especially, when covering up wrong doing by others.
My sentence was being restricted from subbing in any special education classes, which meant a death sentence in getting a job in the district. Because of their action I could not compete for Special Education teaching positions in fair and equable way. I asked Jefferies Simmons for a copy of the reports and the notes of our meeting. Catherine Mullins was getting up to honor the request when the director reached out and stopped her. Tennille Jefferies-Simmons said there would be a letter coming outlining why I canít sub in special education classes with more concrete details.
When I left the make shift courtroom, I spoke loudly to myself, ďI just been tarred, feathered and rode out on a rail.Ē No truer words spoken and reflect what was to come.
I never got that letter and never celebrated my wifeís birthday that day. The following week after the meeting the phone stopped ringing for work. This added to the stress and waiting for the letter promised to me. Because of the stress there was no way I could function properly in a classroom and give one hundred percent to the students. I decided to cancel two half day sub jobs. This is when I learned I was still locked out of the sub system; even though I meet their demands by going to the meeting. The Mrs. Mullins stated they were still awaiting my decision. My response was the human resource director already made that decision for me and Iím still waiting for the letter she promised me.
On June 15th, I wrote a letter to the human resource and equity director, Tennille Jefferies-Simmons, reviewing and responding to her false allegations against me. I never got a reply from my letter. That same week I went and threw my name in the hat for an open school board position. I felt it was the only way change could take place in the school district.
At the end of July, I sent an email requesting the phone numbers for the school board. I was going to personally call each board member. I got the phone number but, it was suggested to email the board members due to their busy schedule. I emailed the board members requesting to meet with them. I told them this is about fairness and equability. To put it simple I never meet with any of the school board members.
During this process, the acting superintendent, Nancy Stowell, now the superintendent, called me. The superintendent wanted to know why I wanted to contact the school board. She became aware of this since her office redirects all the emails to the school board members. There was no intention, on my part, to contact the superintendentís office since there wasnít a permanent one in place. Seeing no reason not to discuss my situation with the acting superintendent an appointment was made on or about 9th August.
At the meeting, Mrs. Stowell was provided a copy of my letter, dated 15th June, and regurgitated what happen at the meeting on the 25th of May. Looking directly into Nancy Stowellís eyes, I told her that there was only one word that describes what happen to me; bullying. The district leadership bullied me. My final words on this subject were ďIíve been treated as unfairly as any human being can be treated.Ē
Another point I made to Nancy Stowell that I didnít address in my letter, dated 15th June, 2007. In the substitute handbook, it requires the district to provide copies of evaluations to substitute teachers. Another problem who actually did the evaluations; neither the administrator or office manager ever came into any classroom and observe me. After this meeting, I still couldnít copies of any documentation and never heard from Nancy Stowell again.
The superintendent asked me how substitute teachers were being treated out in the district. Speaking for myself, I recanted my good, bad and ugly experiences in subbing. My point to Mrs. Stowell that the schools and district leadership looks down on substitute teachers; they are not treated as certified teachers but as lesser beings. We, substitute teachers, wore the chains of bondage and were treated as such.
In August, after my meeting with the superintendent, I received a Substitute Teacher Contract Agreement, dated 8 August, 2007. There were no restrictions in the contract. Yet, the prior school year eighty percent of my jobs were in special education classes. I went from eighty percent of work in special education classes to zero for that current school year. How do you go from eighty percent to zero percent without restriction being in place?
As mention earlier, I decided to run for the school board because it was the only way to change this culture of abusive behavior in Spokane School District 81. My game plan was to speak out at debates or any other open platform to tell my story. Yet, that never happen there were no open debates or platforms to discuss the issues or tell my story. It seems that the teacher union and the local newspaper decide who gets elected on the school board not the people.
There were two opportunities to tell my story. The first was a female reporter who worked for the Spokesman Review newspaper over the phone. The next was to an editor, who came to my house, from another local newspaper. To date, I never read any of the articles in any paper. My friends told me they werenít kind to me. I ran on three principal; to insure fair equable treatment for all who work in the school district; to insure our special education student donít get left behind; and change the discriminatory hiring practice our veterans incur and support the Troops for Teacher program. In end, I got only 7,000 votes, but had people coming up thanking for my speaking out.
An irony to this story, when I threw my hat in the ring, I was running unopposed. The current board member, Christie Querna, decided not to run for the board again. To my surprise, guess who was running against me. It seemed she had changed her mind all of sudden. She won the election. However, within seven months she resigned her position. The Spokesman Review wrote an editorial piece, 18 August, 2008, called the Flawed Process. The paper suggested the school board manipulated the election to put who they wanted on the school board. She resigned, in my opinion, after her friend, Nancy Stowell got the superintendent job. This is why she chose to run for the school board. Mrs. Querna never had any attention full filling her two years commitment.
After reading the editorial, it finally dawn on me that Spokane School District 81 may of retaliate against me for running for the school board and for speaking out. The school board, the superintendent, and human resource took no action to resolve my complaint. There is documentation to show that after the election they changed my preference. Moreover, during the election I was restricted from subbing in special education classes even though my preferences were the same as last year.
When this all started, my first reaction was to resign from Spokane School District 81. It was an internal struggle every day, but I decide not to quit. I knew there would be a time I would have to make that choice. That year was a struggle to get work and having to protect my back. Here is another interesting tidbit, after having run for the school board and speaking out, not one person who worked for the school district brought up the subject to me.
The decisions to quit subbing for the school district it happen one day in spring in an elementary school. It was in the afternoon and the principal came into the class and started to observe the class. She was jotting notes down and then left the class. The principal never discussed why she was in the room. She could have been observing a student or even me.
It was at this point I knew I had quit subbing for the district. I found myself looking over my back more and more. It was unfair to the students if I couldnít give them one hundred percent of myself in the classroom. Iíve came to realize the school district created a silent hostile work environment for me.
I submitted my resignation in June 2008. I sent a copy to Mr. Garrett Daggett, the current president of the school board and a copy to human resource. I stated in my resignation letter the following:
The district has avoided any and all types of communications with me and denied me recourse and due process. I have attempted to settle this at the lowest level of management and have the door slammed in my face by Human Resource, the superintendent, and the school board. Because of the behavior of the district and its employees a hostile, undesirable, unfair and injustice working environment has been created. Moreover, these discriminatory actions by District 81 personal denied me an equal opportunity to compete for teaching jobs within the district. I feel that Iíve been singled out and subject to unjustified evaluations, false allegations, denied work in special education classes based on unjustified negative comments from undisclosed from undisclosed second and third parties, denied due process by human resource, the superintendent, and school board. I truly believed, with deliberated and with maliciousness, human resource and the superintendent tried to conceal the truth at my expense. Because of the hostile environment created by the district I have no choice but to resign. I canít keep looking over my back wondering when the next knife will plunge into my back. It isnít fair to the students I teach to everyday. They deserve better and with a teacher who feels safe within the school environment. I do not feel safe in District 81.
I never got a reply from my letter of resignation. In fact, I was told that substitute teacher didnít have to resign. My resignation must not have been seen by anyone because I received a new contract to sub. Why would you send a new contract, with no restrictions, for someone who you accused of doing wrong in a serious matter?
In September 2008, I sent a letter, dated 11 September, to the Nancy Stowell, superintendent. It was a letter of frustration, anger, and wanting to know why she didnít act upon our conversation and letter. It was a letter trying to get my dignity, self-respect back and calling her out. The superintendent didnít respond to my letter.
At the same time I sent a package of letters to the school board. I sent original letter, copy of my resignation, copy letter sent to the superintendent, a letter why I ran for the school board and a copy of my resume. As I look back, it was sent just out of frustration and trying to do something or a need to something.
I got a letter acknowledging receipt of my package. In early October, I got a letter telling me that the Equity Officer, Ivan Bush, was going investigate my situation. At the same time, I got a strange email from someone in the district. The email was telling me where I could find work. There was no name or office attached. Was the email a threat or was it trying to tell me something else? I suspected it was from Jefferies-Simmons.
I finally meet with the Equity Officer, Ivan Bush, October 30th, and was upset about how long it took to have this meeting. The equity officer said he was on bereavement because his father past away. I apologized and asked why the district didnít notify me of his situation. I retold my story and answer any of his questions, which wasnít a lot. I gave him two pages of questions I felt that needed to be answered. I told the equity officer, Mr. Bush, I had other documentation to show what actions the district took against me. My last words to him were that I have very little trust that the district leadership will do the right thing, but he could prove me wrong.
I never heard again from the equity officer, Ivan Bush, again. In mid December 2008, I received a letter from the equity officer, Mr. Bush, which simply said nothing ever happen. They admitted that I should have gotten copies of the negative evaluations/write-ups. Yet, there were no copies included with the letter. I still couldnít get copies of these documents. He never answered any of my questions, addressed the verbal abuse and neglect of student, and my original letter.
I wrote a reply to the equity officer, Mr. Bush, and to the school board president, Rocco Treppiedi in two separate letters in January 2009. I was very specific that the investigation was a sham. The equity officer, Ivan Bush, never looked at my supporting documentation or talked to me verify or clarify and facts or statements. I never got a response to any of my letters.
My experiences are just one of the many educators, staff, parents, and students have experienced the dark side of Spokane School District 81. In fact, in February 2011, a parent address the disrespect and outrages behavior that parents experience at a math forum by a district staff personnel, in a Letter to the Editor in the Spokesman Review newspaper. This type of behavior has been the norm and culture of District 81 personnel, especially, down in the district building for many years.
What has transpired over the years is a lack of leadership who exemplify great leadership instead of mediocrity and looking at ones own interest first instead of our children education future. Nancy Stowell continued what her predecessors did before her. Gary Livingston and Brian Benzel help cultivate this toxic atmosphere of outrage, self-promoting, and unethical behavior by district offices and human resource. In my opinion, Mr. Livingston and Mr. Benzel seemed more interested in cultivating their future endeavors than educating and protecting our children.
These two individuals did not support our Troops for Teacher program, that is, the hiring of veterans as teachers. This is why Staci Vesneske could tell me my military experience means crap and get away with it. It is why Staci Vesneske, Jefferies-Simmons, and Ivan Bush were able to cover up wrong doing by district personnel and the verbal abuse and neglect of special education student. They were following in their bosses footprints of protecting their reputation, their jobs, and their future endeavors.
Many have been promoted not for their leadership abilities, their stellar ethical behavior, or their willingness to work towards a common goal- our children. Instead they are evaluated on how they circle their wagon, what they are willing to close their eyes to, and being able do whatever it takes to protect each other backs. The district teaches character counts to the students, but these individuals lack the character to be a great leader or do the right thing. They circle the wagons to protect each other and to continue this dark culture that still exist today in Spokane School District 81.
Lastly, letís not forget the school board members. Susan Chaplin works in the medical field, is a parent and has held many different positions in the school district over the years. Jeffery Biermaan a professor at physics at Gonzaga University, on many boards within Spokane city, and is a parent. Robert Douthitt a business owner, tax attorney, on many boards of different organizations, and a parent. Garret Daggett involved in many equity and race relation boards, works as Utility Relation Manager with Advista Advantage, served in the military, and is a parent. Rocco Treppiedi is attorney for Spokane, involved in many different community areas over the years, and is a parent. What they have in common is the rich vast experiences and being a parent. Yet their philosophy is ďHear nothing, see nothing, say nothing, do nothing.Ē They ignore state codes creating their own codes to cover their wrongful ways.
This is where the dark cancerous culture that permeates through out the district got its start. Putting our children at risk and cultivating a mindset that leads to people being treated in unfair and unequal way. That is what happened to me.
By this time, I was having anxiety attacks, stressed, severely depressed that I was going to the emergency room and having chest pains. I finally went on anxiety medication after going through a series of test to make sure I didnít have any heart problems. In May of 2010, I stopped taking the medication due to a side effect. I started my fourth attempt, in the fall, with counseling. Maybe one day, I will be able to talk about why I put myself into counseling in 2007.
As you noted, the Spokane school district at all levels, did everything to cover up any wrong doing by district personal. Where does one go from here? Here is what I did over a three year period:
Letters were sent to Washington Stateís Labor and Industries and later on the Public Employment Relation Commission. They basically stated there was nothing they could do for due to my job as a substitute teacher. Even though, I was retaliated against for reporting the verbal abuse and neglect and for filing a complaint with the district. This should have fallen under unlawful employment practices. Even at the federal level there is no protection from unlawful employment practices if you work in certain jobs in the education area. This is how the district leadership skirts around unlawful employment practice.
Letters were sent to Randy Dunn, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and his predecessor about the unethical behavior by certified educators. I provide copies of my letter and evidence to what was really going on in Spokane school district. What I got was an e-mail stating that there was nothing they could do. Basically, it isnít their responsibility to insure that all educators are treated in a fair and equitable way. Moreover, it isnít their responsibility to insure our students have a safe environment. It seems their only responsibility is making sure our students pass the state test.
Next, a letter was sent to Mary Jean Ryan and Amy Bragdan, WA State Board of Education, about my situation and the special education student. Like the Superintendent of Public Instruction, this did not fall in their realm of responsibility. Since they are appointed by the Governor Chris Gregoire, I wrote her a letter. There was no response from her office. The question that needs to be ask, ďWho is responsibility for monitoring the unethical behavior by certified educators, If human resource, the superintendent, the school board, the WA superintendent , the WA School Board, and governor say itís not their responsibility?Ē
Letters were written to our elective officials in Olympia and Washington, DC: WA Representatives Don Barlow and John Ahern; WA Senator Chris Marr; Congressional Representative Cathy McMorris; Congressional Senators Maria Cantwell and Patti Murray. Senator Marr wrote me but nothing ever happen. It seems that certain individuals working in certain job are not afforded the same rights and protection under the Washington State and Unite States Constitution, especially if you work as a substitute teacher. More surprising is how expendable our children are, especially our special education students. Not one of these individuals was outraged or cared about the verbal abuse and neglect of a child.
Letters were sent to; Rob McKenna, WA State Attorney, who ran on family values, said it had nothing to with his office; Eric Holder, US Attorney, couldnít help; Arne Duncan, Department of Education, couldnít help; The President of the United States whose letter I havenít open because at the time I couldnít take another rejection.
Twice, I approached the Spokane Human Rights commission on my situation. This school district trampled on my civil rights and much more. Yet, there was nothing they could do because I didnít fit between the lines. The last time I asked them, if you canít help me, than stand up for that special education student. They said they couldnít do anything. It seems special education student have little or no protection according to Human Rights Commission. Lastly, we are left with the teacher unions. Letters were sent to; Mary Lindquist, Washington Education Association, no response; Dennis Van Roekel, National Education association whose letter reminds unopened. The teacher union is part of the problem.
Earlier, I mention about the derogatory comments made to me about my military experience by the human resource director. After the incident, I talked to the president of the local teacher union what was said to me. The union president said the human resource director was in the wrong, but the union couldnít help me because I didnít work enough hours that year. The teacher union has allowed this type of behavior to go on by looking the other way. They seem more concern about the politics of education and keeping their people in place. Where is the teacherís union when something like this happens at a forum, when it happens to me/others or when it happens to a special education student? The teacherís union has been aware of the culture of bullying and abusive behavior by administrators, human resource, superintendent, and school boards members in District 81 and has chosen to ignore it.
Another area of concern is the lack of access for legal assistance for labor and employment problems. I couldnít get access to lawyers who specialize in labor and employment law. I found out last year this is a common problem for educators who are in my situation. I was told there is a conflict of interest between these specialize lawyers, school districts and teacher unions. Where does one go to get protection under the law?
Moreover, I talked to a lawyer who has worked in the education field for many years. He stated that there was no hope for me; because there is no protection for substitute teachers under the law. He said school districts can basically abuse, bully, intimidate, harass, deny them fair and equable treatment, and kick them around like piece of trash. I asked if I was screwed. He said yes.
Below are two questions I asked the many state and federal department and people I wrote about my situation. They never answered my questions.
ďWhere does a person like me, an Untied States citizen in good standing, a veteran, a family man whose hard working and tries to be the best person every day, go to get fair and equitable treatment and due process? The question I will ask you who will stand up for me and defend me from any type of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and retaliation?
I donít know what the future holds. By writing my story and putting it on the web site, it is about moving forward. My future may not include teaching anymore and this is the saddest part of my story. My love for teaching and the children I taught have been a dream since childhood. No matter what, I will speak out and fight for the truth. There comes a time one must worry about ones physical and mental health. Iím at this point.
This has been a very lonely fight. I truly believed if I could of gotten a lawyer; Iíve would of won this long time battle.
Above is a teacher story that illustrate so clearly that our schools are about White Chalk Crime, NOT about educating our children. This courageous man, who was a veteran of the military, not only discovered how corrupt our schools are, but that they could not care less about honoring our military. He wrote: "More surprising is how expendable our children are, especially our special education students. Not one of these individuals [to whom he reported wrongdoing] was outraged or cared about the verbal abuse and neglect of a child."
In addition, this elaborate story demonstrates the deep calling to teach some of us have. The drive to properly educate our children is so embedded in teachers with this calling that they would take the time to do what this teacher did to report the wrongdoing he encountered again and again despite the barricades as well as to write such a complete story. Telling our stories evolves from the same labor of love that teaching once did. Denied the ability to teach children, we are compelled to teach the public because to do otherwise defies who we are.
Because White Chalk Criminals detest our values - that children's needs, NOT money and power, must guide our decision making - they need to eliminate our voices. They have the power to easily do this as you will learn reading our stories. We need the public to connect the dots to what is going on so the public will yank the power from these predators that have our children under their control. This story will greatly help you understand the big picture and why we need to unite and allow real reform to begin. Any reform taking place without the truth about the scam of White Chalk Crime is not reform. It is smoke and mirrors. A democracy relies on informed citizens, something that will NEVER happen unless citizens learn the truth. You will NEVER learn the truth from these mini-Bernie Madoff's indulging in a scam against the public. And until NAPTA you had no way to hear the truth. You do now. Take advantage of it for the sake of your children and the future of our democracy. Keep reading these stories until you realize you too cannot turn your back on this scam. NAPTA