"It is an honor to be fired by a corrupt system."
Rotten Apples, by Patti Powell
The magnitude of the state's transgressions during Horwitz's tenure dismissal hearing were appalling. Obstruction of justice was acceptable to all parties, except Horwitz, and the parents, of course. The district submitted an altered letter with the arrogance of a tyrant who knew the court belonged to him. It was a parent's letter submitted by the District that conveniently had a sentence missing, with a black line added to the page. The sentence referred to Horwitz's former superintendent, John W. Sloan, who ruled with an iron fist and a missing heart. The missing sentence stated:"Throughout the years, past experience has shown that what the parents want and what the children need is not importantů.it is what Dr. Sloan wants is what goes." The District did not know that Horwitz had a copy of the letter. Their attorney, Paulette Petretti, had no hesitation to represent it as "all that they had," never making any effort to submit the authentic letter even after Horwitz did. Sleight of hand was the law during this hearing.
This parent had written this letter to the board, upset they were keeping Horwitz out of the class. She stated, "The children wanted and needed their regular routine. A meeting was held and questions were asked. The children rolled their eyes when they realized that the truth was not being told. After the meeting, the substitute asked if their questions had been answered and the children raised their hands and said that Mrs. Biancalana was lying and they did not believe a word she had said. My child had raised his hand and said that he had heard from one of his classmates that Mrs. Horwitz was suing the school for hiring all the new inexperienced teachers. Mrs. Biancalana said that she wasn't suing the school. The children felt that as they were asking their questions, Mrs. Biancalana was staring out the window 'trying to put together her next lie' before she answered their questions."
"...He (her child) feels disappointed, let down and more importantly, he questions why it is acceptable for the Principal to lie to the children, but if he or any child is called down to her office, you had better tell the truth or be punished. With only six weeks left of school, why are you as Board Members, supposedly in a position of power and representing the parents, not taking action by expediting Mrs. Horwitz's return?"
"Throughout this entire ordeal, please be aware that we are not fighting for the return of just any teacher, but for the return of an excellent, extraordinary, compassionate teacher who makes each child feel like they are number one. Mrs. Horwitz has a unique talent in recognizing and acknowledging each child's individual gift and self-worth. By not insisting on her immediate return, you are not just hurting Avoca's future, but hurting our children."
[The missing sentence would have followed here, but it didn't on their submitted copy.]
At the time of this letter, administrators had refused to let Horwitz back into the classroom saying that Horwitz had to have an examination by the district psychiatrist, who was the notorious Dr. Fink, a testimony-for-fees psychiatrist that regularly worked for their law firm. They were attempting to use this letter to show that Horwitz was causing chaos in the school by leading children to think that the principal was lying. Articles were in the newspaper and the whole school knew about her lawsuit. The parents knew she wasn't sick and many discussed this with their children. It was strange that the district would go through what they did to submit a letter such as this considering that it was so complimentary toward Horwitz, and to any right thinking person would have been proof that she was not to blame for this incident. They had no concern about accountability for it being altered, and no concern that the glowing sentiments that were heard in this and repeatedly throughout the hearing would sway the hearing officer from his biased position against Horwitz. They were certain that the fact that the children thought the principal was lying was Horwitz's problem rather than the principal's problem, because in their minds she could lie, since that was her role in keeping intact this system of organized crime. She was doing the everyday "saving face" that is an integral aspect of our public schools.
Testimony will prove that Rubin accepted this letter, and blocked testimony, denying Horwitz's rights to point out this transgression. In the testimony from the original transcript referring to this issue, you can see Rubin repeatedly saying "Move on". It does not indicate that he was screaming at her attorney, Mr. Radzilowsky, however, he was, and attempting to intimidate him into not finishing his sentence, explaining to Rubin that the letter appeared altered. Rubin managed to keep that off the record as best he could. The testimony below is Horwitz's attorney questioning Dorothy Ballantyne, former president of the board.
2891- 2895 From the Official Transcript of Avoca School District #37 v. Horwitz
Q I have given you Board Exhibit 292, for identification, --
MR. RADZILOWSKY: The copy I have has a line that's totally blurred out of it.
THE HEARING OFFICER: At the very bottom.
MS. PETRETTI: That's what I have as well. I don't know if we have an original. We will check into it to see if we can find it. I don't know. [They certainly had the perfect lawyer!]
Q At any rate, can you identify this for the record? admission of Exhibits 292 and 293. THE HEARING OFFICER: Any objection?
MR. RADZILOWSKY: I have a problem with 292 because it appears that at least a line of that letter and possibly below more is missing.
THE HEARING OFFICER: Subject to verification, it's in.
(WHEREUPON, said documents, previously marked Board of Education Exhibit Nos. 292 and 293, were received in evidence.)
During lunch break, Horwitz located a copy that was not altered which her attorney will submit as #65.
2930 -2932 From the Official Transcript of Avoca School District #37 v. Horwitz
Q I would like to draw your attention to Board Exhibit 292..
Q At the very bottom there is this black line. I guess my question to you is this was directed to all members of the Board of Ed. Do you know what is under that black line or what's supposed to be there?
Q Do you recall when you saw this document as a member of the Board of Ed, was this black line on the document that you received or was there --
A My assumption is that it wasn't there. But I have no idea, you know, when it was reproduced, or whatever. I don't know what it says. This was two years ago.
Q I understand. So it's your assumption that what you got was a document that contained whatever the writing is under that black line, is that fair to say?
A I would assume so.
(WHEREUPON, Defendant's Exhibit No. 65 was marked for identification.)[authentic copy]
Q I am going to show you what is being marked as Defendant's Exhibit 65 and ask you if that was the document that was actually received?
A I truly can't totally identify this. It's two years ago. I read the letter once two years ago and, you know, it appears that where the line is that's, you know, the same. But I don't know.
Q Had you read a document like Board Exhibit Number 292 with some writing that was partly obscured, which would have been your practice to try to find out what was partly obscured? A I don't think they would have sent it to me partly obscured. I don't think the board would have sent it to me.
THE HEARING OFFICER: Mr. Radzilowsky, what's your point?
MR. RADZILOWSKY: I am just trying to determine whether this witness can establish that the copy of this letter that we have is the accurate --
THE HEARING OFFICER: This seems to be the same document. If you want this in, I'll receive it. There is nothing in here that needs to be redacted, is there?
MS. PETRETTI: You know, the name --
THE HEARING OFFICER: That's a parent's name.
MS. PETRETTI: Well, we have been trying to keep the parents out of it. But I have offered to go through the exhibits and redact.
THE HEARING OFFICER: Fine, if you want it in, it appears to be the same document, Mr. Radzilowsky. Move on.
MR. RADZILOWSKY: Well, I think that there is a -- [cut off by Rubin]
THE HEARING OFFICER: Move on. [screamed]
MR. RADZILOWSKY: The sentence at the bottom --[cut off again]
THE HEARING OFFICER: Look, Mr. Radzilowsky, you have until 3:59 with this witness. If you want to go on stuff, which is immaterial, that's okay. But that's all the time you have with this witness and I suggest you move to something substantive. [with anger]
MR. RADZILOWSKY: I mean, I guess I am not understanding what appears to be the language --
THE HEARING OFFICER: I have told you before that this is in only as notice to the board, there is nothing in here for which I will accept the truth of the matter asserted.
MR. RADZILOWSKY: You don't think the fact that an exhibit was presented with -- [cut off just in time]
THE HEARING OFFICER: Do you want to argue? Do you want to consume your time arguing with me, Mr. Radzilowsky, or do you want to ask the witness a question?
Rubin then accepted the document without arguing that it was the same as the other one. For other "duplicate" documents he argued against accepting them. But in this case, he didn't want to call attention to the missing sentence and have it on the record. You can see where Rubin repeatedly said move on just as her attorney was about to point out the alteration on the document. Her attorney finally gave up after Rubin gave him a choice between "arguing" and asking questions. You can see where Rubin claimed that the contents were immaterial. He obstructed Horwitz's ability to point out proof about the dubious nature of this administration, both in terms of what the parent said about the reputation of the superintendent, and in terms of the District's action of submitting an altered document. Yet in the end, Rubin determined Horwitz was delusional about problems at this district because there were no problems at the district
Later in the testimony, Rubin appears to pretend that these documents are the same. 3847-3848 Q I want to show you what is already in evidence as Defendant's Exhibit 65. THE HEARING OFFICER: It's the same as your Board Exhibit 292? MS. THIELEMANN: Essentially the same, not exactly. THE HEARING OFFICER: According to my notes, it corresponds to your Exhibit 292. [What happened to his promise to verify? Why did his notes say they correspond when even the Board President admitted it was different? Or did he believe that the use of the word correspond was just the right spin for this situation? The content of the missing sentence, stating Superintendent Sloan only does what he wants and not what is right for the children, doesn't alert Rubin to the fact that Horwitz might be correct that this district is abusing its power? How is Rubin able to decide that Horwitz is delusional, with a possible personality disorder that makes her paranoid that people are harassing her even after reading that sentence? Does the parent's sentence mean nothing? It is fine to accept similar document? The union sees no point in appealing Rubin's decision. All the government officials that Horwitz has revealed this obstruction of justice have abandoned her, even knowing it is happening to teachers all over the country? And this is happening in America? ]
MS. PETRETTI: They also have Defendant's Exhibit 9, which is exactly the same thing.
[Board's attorney patronizes Horwitz with comment that she has another duplicate on the record so it doesn't matter that the one the district had submitted is altered. This type of thinking is consistent with customary treatment of teachers - kind of like the way you treat a two- year-old. Due process? For teachers? Nah]
Courtesy of Steve Rubin, the hearing officer, no examination of this document took place. Still hasn't. The union decided not to support an appeal. Why bother to pursue this? It's only a teacher. Obstruction of justice only applies when justice applies.
Around August 14, 2001, when Horwitz's ruling was already eight months late by state statute, the State Board of Education told Horwitz's attorney that "getting the record from Rubin might be a problem." They were preparing her for the possibility of a new hearing. It was obvious that they wanted to bury this record. It wasn't until July 1, 2002, that a decision was finally rendered, and that only happened because after Horwitz contacted every official she could think of, someone from the Attorney General's Office called the State Board Of Education helped them figure out a way they could get the decision and the record back. At that point they sent Rubin a letter threatening to sue him and report him to the arbitration association. Sure was funny that they had no remedy until then.
Every legislator in the state of Illinois on the Education Committee received notice of this outrage. No big deal. The Attorney General's Office doesn't believe this warrants a criminal investigation for using taxpayers' funds to obstruct justice. Neither of the candidates for governor, nor the current governor cares either. The ACLU doesn't think this is important, but look at some of the cases they do support. Pornographic rights must be more important than teachers' rights. Terrorists' rights must be protected. And you wonder why our schools are a mess? If nothing else, NAPTA will save people from this oppression as teacher abuse will no longer be a secret and young people choosing careers will finally be forewarned. Then perhaps change will have to take place when new teacher candidates can no longer be tricked into choosing teaching, thinking it is a calling, a profession, or something other than a well organized, slave ring.
WITHOUT BEING BRAIN DEAD, TEACHING IN ONE OF OUR MANY CORRUPT SYSTEMS CAN BE PSYCHOLOGICALLY FATAL