Recently, I ran into a former teacher from Manhattan Center as I spoke with them I wasn’t surprised to hear that Jimenez would often tell new teachers to avoid older staff members and especially those who were strong advocates of the Union. The truth is that by telling these new teachers to avoid the Union Jimenez violated the City Charter’s conflict of interest rule.
Jimenez’s interactions with the UFT is a touchy subject with many teachers at Manhattan Center. Some teachers, myself included felt that his relationship with a high ranking Union representative compromised our chapter. Because of this relationship I began writing letters to the former chancellor Dennis Walcott, but those complaints fell on deaf ears. I am sure this is the same issue Patricia Walsh faced at PS 106.
In her opinion piece Patricia Walsh notes, “Retaliation was common. When a teacher signed her name to a letter sent to officials expressing her concern about educational practices that adversely affecting children in our school. She was reprimanded for more than one hour by two Supervisors from the Department of Education. Teachers learned to remain anonymous.”
In my last post on this blog I noted that, Mr. Thomas (http://www.mcsmledger.blogspot.com) spent 16 months in the rubber room for questioning educational practices that affected our students. Retaliation is something that I have a first hand account of. In April of 2011, I filed a complaint about the surveys. I spoke with Jamel Boyer and warned him that I would be retaliated against. I received two u ratings and a three letters to file after that meeting.”
Ms. Walsh also noted in her opinion piece that , “Letters began to flood the district office, Superintendent’s office, mayor’s office, chancellor’s office, UFT and the special commissioner of investigation just three months after Sills took leadership position. But rather than addressing our concerns and dealing with the cause, the staff was reprimanded and scolded for not signing individual names. Now see why Sills strategically targeted and harassed staff.”
Below is an email I sent to Chancellor Dennis Walcott on April 24, 2012
Silvers Jr John E (04M435)
To:Walcott Dennis M
April 24, 2012 11:55 PM
I am a History teacher at Manhattan Center for Science and Math High School in East Harlem. On Thursday April 5, 2012, Mr. Jamel Boyer from the Office of Special Investigation came to interview me about a charge of ethic violation related to the survey that were given out to the students. Before finishing my meeting with Mr. Boyer I noted that, “I am going to be retailated against because I spoke with you.” Mr. Boyer noted that he was going to speak with Principal David Jimenez about my concerns. I had also asked Mr. Boyer if the was a possible that I could have an outside observer come into my classroom and observe me because I believe that my observations were being used as a form retaliation.
On April 17, 2012, Mr Jimenez had sent an email to the entire staff noting that there have been a number of recent intrusions into the building by unknown individuals. I sent an email to Mr. Jimenez voicing my concerns about the intruders that had entered the building and the reason why DOE protocol for intrusions into the building was not followed. I also noted in my email that Mr. Jimenez had jeporadized the safety of both students and staff members by not informing us. Later that afternoon Mr. Jimenez sent me an email tell me that I had violated DOE email policy by sending that Email. On the afternoon of April 18, 2012 Mr. Jimenez had a meeting with myself and my chapter leader Latoya Martin. During the meeting Mr. Jimenez had noted that I violated DOE policy by sending the email to the entire staff. I explain to Mr. Jimenez that I sent the Email to him only, but it was possible that I may have accidently click on reply all. Mr. Jimenez during this meeting made a statement that all emails must go through him first. During the Meeting I questioned Mr. Jimenez’s reason for not notifying the staff about intruders in the building. Mr. Jimenez stated that he did not have to notify the staff and that the incidents he was talking about occurred in September. Meanwhile, a student was recently(two days prior)given a principal suspension for letting an intruder in the building and the student noted that the intruder had wander the building for approximately 15 minutes before being caught. I was verbally admonished for this incident even though my email did not violated the DOE Email policy.
In what has become a pattern with all teachers who speak out I was observed 1st period on April 18, 2012 by assistant principal Mr. Dan Albetta. Mr. Albetta is a licensed gym teacher who is the Assistant Principal of Social Studies. When Mr. Albetta entered my classroom he did not even have the common courtesty to acknowledge me, nor did he tell me he was there to observe me. I was doing a lesson on the causes of the Civil War. On April 20,2012, I had a post observation conference with Mr. Albetta. Mr. Albetta started off the conference by asking me if I had a lesson plan which I had with me. He wanted to know “how come I did not have one for him on the day he observed me.” I explained “I did not know you were coming to observe me.” As the conference continued Mr. Albetta noted that I did not have a Do Now which I did and it was on the smart board for nearly ten minutes prior to his arrival. I noted that it was a review of the prior day lesson and it tied into the primary source documents I was using in the lesson. Mr. Albetta insisted that I did not have a do now. Mr. Albetta then asked me about differential instruction. I explain that the primary source documents were part of differential instruction I used which was a think pair share exercise. Mr. Albetta wanted to know why I did not print the primary source documents out. I explained that we are rationed two reams of paper a month for five classes and in my case that is two American History classes, Two Global history classes and an elective on contemporary history. Mr. Albetta gave me a U for this lesson.
Mr. Albetta and I have had a strained relationship since we were deans together in 2009 and he had a child arrested for no reason. When Mr. Albetta became my Assistant Principal in 2010 I asked Mr. Jimenez both verbal and in writing that he not have Mr. Albetta do my observations because of the personal conflict. The UFT District leader Servia Silva also requested the same thing.
On April 20,2012, the discussion in Mr. Albetta’s office during my post observation turn toward our personal issue. I asked Mr. Albetta to be honest and put all our cards on the table and discuss the reasons why he has an issue with me. Mr. Albetta found this phrase threatening and reported it to Mr. Jimenez. Mr Jimenez on April 23, 2012 had another meeting with me and my chapter leader Latoya Martin to discuss the incident in Mr. Albetta’s office. Mr. Jimenez gave me a letter to file and admonished me for using words like Honest and put all our cards on the table. I found these three incidents after Mr. Boyer’s visit to be retaliatory.
During the past two years I had to put up with U ratings for lessons that I work extremely hard on. I also had false allegations made against me to the Office of Special Investigations. I have also had false allegations made against me about being intimidating. These allegations were made by Mr. Jimenez and Mr. Albetta.
In October of 2010, in front of Mr. Eric Cohen both Mr. Jimenez and Mr. Albetta made phyiscal threats against me in front of my classroom. Mr. Jimenez during this incident stuck his finger in my face. On another occassion in Feburary of 2011, a female teacher Ms Gonzalez had been U rated and had left Mr. Jimenez’s office in tears I had seen Ms Gonzalez by my classroom she was visible upset and as i spoke with her Mr. Jimenez came racing down the hall yelling and pointing his finger in my face that “I better tell her what good for her.” Feeling threaten by Mr. Jimenez I took a defensive stance not knowing if Mr. Jimenez was going to swing at me. Mr Cohen who taught in the room across from me step in between the rushing Mr.Jimenez and Myself and Ms Gonzalez.
Chancellor Walcott, In my 11 years of Teaching I have been rated satisfactory every year until 2011. I have recieved accolades from a number of colleges that former students have attended including MIT and NYU. My regents scores are well above the city norm at 98%.
Mr. Jimenez runs Manhattan Center like a tyrant and he uses Mr. Albetta and his cronies as henchmen.Teachers who speak up are often retaliated against by being observed and U rated. It is an pattern that everyone in the building knows.
A number of extraordinary teachers have already left for other schools, but I myself have a personal stake in the school. I was a student at Benjamin Franklin graduating in 1982, I am a life long resident of East Harlem and believe that returning to teach in my community school was a way of giving back. I also knew Cole Gant who was the first principal of Manhattan Center. I admired that Mr. Gant would often come into the community to talk the people of the community much like his precessor and founder of Benjamin Franklin Lenorad Covello. Mr.Gant was the man who inspired me to become a teacher and now I have to fear for the career I worked so hard for.
This is one of about ten emails I sent to the Chancellor highlight the workplace harassment that was occurring at Manhattan Center, but like those teachers as P.S.106 my complaints fell on deaf ears.
During my 3020a hearing Mr. Jimenez made the following comment, “Using words like let be honest and put our cards on the table could get you fired in the private sector.” WELL I GUESS CALLING A FEMALE A.P INTO AN OFFICE AND SHOWING HER A DILDO WOULD GET YOU A RAISE AND PROMOTION IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. (https://mcsminmywords.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/jimenezs-predictable-behavior/)