Aside from the fact I have my own horror stories of school districts in the East Bay, I was recently provided other stories from teachers I used to work with. The names are not important of the people involved, the schools or the districts as all of it can be verified. In my personal situation, there is a pending court case by a former teacher colleague of mine against one group so I am not a liberty to state their name. After the issue is resolved in the eyes of the court, I will be able to comment fully as I have the complete documentation for my personal situation.
I was victim of the conundrum that charter schools are public schools without unions and since they are usually not for profit, the people who run charter schools believe that employment law just does not apply to teachers. It creates an interesting dilemma as most new teachers do not understand the nuance of getting paid ‘more’ to work more (substantially more) and the fact that employment law does pertain to each and every employee of charter schools which are non-union shops, even though charter schools are ‘non-profit’ or in some eyes a charitable cause.
In my situation my principal and the staff above him allowed such things as a student to simulate poll dancing at a middle school spirit week function; my principal to talk directly to a teacher colleague of mine about how much women can bleed when I presented papers from my doctor at Kaiser explaining why I needed to have a hysterectomy; my principal and those above him telling me there was no money in the budget for accomodations to help me pack up my room at the end of the year (when there was a doctors note stating I was not to lift more than 10 lbs., prior to my hysterectomy and then telling me after surgery there was still no money in the budget to help me unpack my room even though the doctor told me not to lift anything so I did not get adhesions and this was also documented in writing. The VP above my principal was actually bold enough to put in writing that I should consider the ‘friend’ route and if so, she would help. I have the documentation (including a deposition) for all of this.
At another school district where I had worked but left, I found out a former teacher colleague of mine was ‘transferred’ to the high school from the middle school. The logic used was that the middle school, where the teacher had worked for 8+ years was apparently not able to ‘schedule’ this teacher based on her credentials. The reality is everyone at the school and in the district new the new (as of last year) principal was harassing this teacher. Yes, this teacher did file a union grievance on some of the issues.
Said teacher above was to be given boxes to pack – one set for school text books to be returned to book room. They were never delivered. Teacher was so stressed/burned out at end of year, so teacher decided to wait further through the summer to pack. When teacher and recently retired teacher friend went to school to start packing, teacher found her personal belongings – teaching materials, etc. which were purchased out of pocket for students, thrown in trash bailer bin. Teacher climbed in and retrieved the items. Notes were put up around classroom to ‘please call me’ and do not throw out my personal posessions. Teacher was so upset they decided to come back in a few days to pack. When both teachers went back, vice-principal was in the room once again dispersing teachers personal teaching materials to the bailer/garbage bin. No professional phone call was made (before or after first event of trashing teacher items) to even say, hey, I know it is summer but if you don’t do X, we will have to throw it away.
Later I found out another teacher at the same school who had asked to put stuff in storage at school the summer before as their room does not have cabinets, came back in the fall to find everything which had been put in storage was summarily thrown away over the summer.
These are only the stories I know about. They happened in an east bay school district and a charter school within a different east bay school district.
Is it any wonder at all why teachers might not be feeling the love?
If this has happened to you or some one you know, share a comment. I believe the public needs to be more aware of the professionalism denied teachers and how it affects their personal and work life.