Teacher to handicapped student: ‘My people fought so we wouldn’t have to serve white people like you’
June 25, 2015
The Cincinnati Enquirer submitted a public information request to 48 Ohio school districts in Hamilton, Butler, Clermont and Warren counties for employee misconduct reports, and the response is eye-opening.
Twenty-eight of the districts reported zero reports teacher misconduct, while six districts reported multiple problems.
“Three reports showed teachers convicted of sexual relationships with students, four had teachers allegedly involved in physical altercations with students, and four listed academic fraud, where teachers allegedly falsified test results or gave students answers ahead of time,” the news site reports.
“Statewide, the Ohio Department of Education resolved 676 investigations in 2014; 449, or 66 percent, resulted in some form of discipline, ranging from a letter of admonishment to license revocation.”
Those cases involved educators like Wayne Local Schools intervention specialist Pamela Bullock, who was investigated and later resigned after four teaching assistants wrote a letter last spring detailing her mistreatment of special education students.
Bullock allegedly threw a marker at one student, removed the safety wheels from the wheelchair of another, and was known for belittling students with racial references.
The same day Bullock allegedly threw a marker at a student’s head and “a racial comment was directed toward the same student,” the assistants wrote in their letter, according to the Enquirer.
“After applying a bandage to the student’s leg, (Bullock) said, ‘Anything else, your highness? … My people fought for years, so we wouldn’t have to serve white people like you.’”
And then there’s the repeat offenders, who slip through the cracks in the system, aided and abetted by school administrators and union representatives who negotiate secret deals that exchange a letter of resignation from a misbehaving teacher for a letter of recommendation for employment elsewhere.
The Enquirer reports:
From there, he went to Tennessee, where he resigned after he was suspended for alleged inappropriate communication with a student.
The kicker: North Fork Principal Mark Bowman gave Poulton a glowing recommendation for the Tennessee job. He rated Poulton “above average” in every category, saying he would rehire Poulton and that he was “great to be around — a plus in any system.”
Ohio officials took Poulton’s license March 10, citing the Columbus incident and an allegation that Poulton had a romantic relationship with a student back in 2009 — before the Columbus firing, before North Fork, and before Tennessee.
Reuters reports the state’s attorney general and Gov. Jerry Brown are appealing a ruling last year that struck down tenure laws that protect misbehaving teachers.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan hailed the ruling as a “mandate” to fix the broken system, while California’s teachers unions continue to argue there’s no evidence California’s teacher tenure system harms students.
But attorneys for the nine students who sued California over the tenure laws submitted evidence showing only two out of 275,000 teachers in the state are dismissed each year for poor performance.
“You don’t need a lot of adjectives and adverbs to be able to figure out that’s a broken system,” Marcellus McRae, attorney for the students, told reporters in a conference call, according to Reuters.
Instead of firing teachers that need to be fired – a very difficult, time consuming and expensive endeavor under California’s current tenure system – school officials more often simply shuffle bad teachers from one district to another in the “dance of the lemons.”
“And the schools most often on the receiving end of these ‘lemon’ transfers are schools serving predominantly poor and minority students,” McRae argues.
In the original Vergara v. California ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu, the judge found that California employs between 2,750 and 8,250 grossly ineffective teachers, meaning that California’s tenure system unfairly protects between 2,748 and 8,248 bad teachers – after deducting the two bad apples dismissed annually in The Golden State.