Monday, October 19, 2015

Disrespecting the American Teacher: 
The Saga Continues in NYC

This past week it was brought to BATs attention that a principal in NYC had tossed out teacher desks and chairs. Please keep in mind that we are now in late October, school started in September, and this seems like an immense upheaval to do to teachers and children this late in the year. 

 Here is what has been reported to us by inside sources:

#1 -
This was an act of retaliation against teachers who do not agree with her so-called vision of what the school should look like. Since this administration took office the test scores have declined. There has been a history of mismanagement of this administration's part. Several investigations have taken place. Many complaints have gone to the superintendent by parents and teachers. There is an atmosphere of fear. The principal is not approachable. At meetings she tells us we are not allowed to ask questions. We cannot be confused.
The removal of desk from teacher’s classrooms was an act of revenge. When teachers asked why, she said this is the 21st century. File cabinets were also removed. Teachers were told they are dinosaurs. Some teachers came in to school to find a post it on their desks say the desk would be removed that afternoon. There was no explanation. The file cabinets were dinosaurs, not the teachers. She said nothing about replacing them with tables. Articles from desks were put into boxes and plastic bags. Teachers had to clear out desks during instructional time. Some teachers were so fearful they pushed their desks into the hallway. The students were confused. Some of them thought that they were going to lose their desks too.
It seems as though the superintendent is protecting the principal. The superintendent is well aware of Connelly's antics.

#2 -
I am a teacher at PS 24 who had her desk and filing cabinet removed on Tuesday. Thank you and all the BATs for bringing attention to this issue. The BATs have done more in one day than our union was able to do in 7 years.
Many of the teachers are quite concerned about retaliation tomorrow [Monday, Oct 19, 2015]. Although it was mentioned that we should all wear aprons with scissors and post-its and stablers, etc in pockets, everyone is too afraid. Dr. Connelly was verbally abusive to several teachers on Friday.
This is not the first incident of her insanity. There have been several investigations into her conduct to no avail. The Superintendent has been to our school and basically gave her a slap on the wrist.
Dr. Connelly told the Super that she was buying the teachers trapezoid tables in replacement of our desks. However, the secretaries have stated this to be untrue.
I am telling you this in hope that you will continue to make this public since the parents are also concerned that there will be retribution against their children if they speak up.
You have my permission to use my words anonymously.
Once again, I truly appreciate what the BATS have done.
Thank you

#3 -
Hello! I am also an employee at PS24. While it is true teachers were told they had to remove desks and filing cabinets, it seems to be circulating that teachers aren't allowed to sit. There are computer tables with teacher chairs still where they can do work. The principal really hates the look and feel of "older" classrooms with big monstrous desks and sort of the front vs back teacher directed classroom. The biggest issue I have with this all, and so do many others who work here is that this was handled mid-October when teachers were already in the swing of things. Their entire week was spent reorganizing and trying to make a new system that will work to put things in (files, supplies, etc). I'd like to remain anonymous but feel people should know that teachers do still have a work station and chair, just not the typical desk. Is it right how it was handled? No, not at all, but teachers weren't told they can never sit, so for the people saying this is an ADA issue and contact OSHA etc, that's far off. The principal did say she doesn't want teachers who sit behind their desk all day and don't interact with the children, which truthfully removing the furniture is not going to magically change anyone who still does that (which is very few, if any, teachers in our building to begin with). The furniture is not 21st century and not going to work with the common core. These were all her reasons for doing what she did. Again, the timing and handling of the situation was poor and not the first time she mishandled a situation to upset the staff. Just thought it would be informative to hear more facts. Thanks to BAT for bringing attention to this issue!

#4 -
On Tuesday October 13, 2015, I arrived at school after the three day weekend to a post-it note asking for me to see the principal. My intention was to go to her that day during my prep period.
Early that morning Dr. Connelly forcibly opened the classroom door, banging it against the wall. My students looked up to see what the commotion was. Dr. Connelly yelled at me across the room, "Your desk has to go. And the filing cabinet too!" I said alright and asked if I could have a table to put my lesson plans and other items on. Dr.Connelly shouted, "No. I'm not giving anyone a table. Use your Teacher's Choice money to buy drawers or bins. Get rid of both of them! Today!
After Dr. Connelly stormed out of the classroom, my students stared at me, stunned. I attempted to reengage them when one asked "Why is Dr. Connelly so mad?" I did my best to diffuse the situation, however the tension was evident.
I, among others, fear retaliation. Everyone in the school knows when she is after someone. It is my hope that my anonymity will be protected so that I can continue to teach my students as best I can, despite the hostile environment.

The disrespect of the American teacher is alive and well at PS24.

The larger question here is, why are folks afraid to speak up, even parents, for fear that there would be retaliation against their child?

There are larger issues here, but the very out in the open display of removing teacher’s desks, throwing them in a heap of garbage, speaks volumes to the disrespect that both the children and teachers in this school are enduring as a result of this episode.  To make teachers “reorganize” this late in the year shows a lack of respect for what they do but most importantly impacts the children that they teach.

Good school leadership is about respecting your teachers but most importantly protecting the learning environment for kids so that it is stable, productive, and secure.  Maybe it is time for the principal of PS 24 to go back to Education Leadership School and take a class on how to respect teachers so that they can educate children in an environment that is stable and secure. 

 "A teacher's working environment is a student's learning environment."

UPDATE - 10/19/15

The Principal of PS 24 sent around this email today telling teachers if they do NOT want their desk returned to let her know.

Inside sources are telling us that teachers don't just want their desks back, they want their filing cabinets back as well.   #GiveItAllBack

Update 10/20/15

After the Principal was ordered to return the desks this is what has been happening as reported from our inside sources:

Source #1
Some teachers are intimidated but most are just annoyed by the whole situation. Our classrooms were disrupted once already, many reorganized their rooms to make things work without the desk, some purchased new containers and now to be asked to do it all again. A lot of people have the move on attitude. If desks were just returned to all then it would be a different story but now it is to some and a line has been drawn.

Source #2

I was expecting to walk in today to find a desk but instead our Associate Principal walked around making a list of who wants it and who doesn't.
Our principal is claiming the superintendent wants the list. This puts teachers in an awkward position.

Source #3  

Non tenured teachers were bullied by the A P into not taking their desks back
And part of the problem is they don't have all of the desks in addition no file cabinets are being returned [all metal stuff was taking by scrap collectors]
She says everything was in a designated trash area
[custodians are being blamed for putting them in wrong spot]

Source #4
"Principal is in trouble and was heard screaming “these b***s” when she was in her office"

Bottom line is - this Principal needs to learn to respect teachers who will collectively fight for their students to have a learning environment that is stable and secure!


  1. There is no excuse for this administrator's behavior. She either has something on somebody or somebody in a supervisory position is protecting her. This threatening and irrational behavior is detrimental to education. I suspect she is mentally ill. Ruling by intimidation and fear doesn't work.

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  3. It would be interesting to know if most or all of the teachers who had their desks and cabinets removed were 'older' teachers. I was targeted by my principal several years ago, and I believe it was because I was getting close to retirement age. This principal stated to me more than once that she wished 'her' school could discontinue the special ed (almost all self contained, non-verbal, wheelchair) class that I taught. She was mad because she asked the superintendent (so I was told) that the self contained class be moved to another school. This request was denied, then I started getting pressured, desk removed, had to change class activities every 15 min, etc. I lasted until Feb, then I walked. Lots of other factors involved but as I look back, I think it was a campaign. I wasn't the first, and won't be the last.

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  5. Her draconian management style is completely unacceptable. Pack her bags and show her the door. Seriously! Rescued animals in our local shelter are treated with more respect than she gives her teachers and students.

  6. Unfortunately this behavior by the principal at PS24 is not an exception but the rule. I have friends that teach in many schools through out the 5 Boroughs and most are being managed via Fear. While it is the job of the principal to be the Schools head manager it is also the job of a good manager
    to encourage and support their staffs and make sure that the staff have all the tools the need to do their job. It has been my experience that all they know how to do is criticize and intimidate. And god for bid you have more then a few years experience they will target you and try to make life so miserable that you will want to quit. The education system is a mess. But it not because of bad teachers. It is because of bad politics. Bad politics is what made Tenure a necessity. Teacher spend more and more time doing paperwork to please administrators and politicians then they do teaching. This paperwork continues way in to the night when they get home. There is no other profession in this country that requires such a high degree of education where the professional are so Micromanaged. All this talk of adding rigger and higher standards makes no sense until we can get everyone learning the Basics. Those basics must include the arts and Gym. Those subjects are just as important as reading and math for learning critical thinking teamwork and interpersonal relationships.

  7. If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual. ~Frank Herbert

    This despot, however, has obviously never encountered the power of BATs.

  8. She needs to apologize profusely AND get fired!! This is ridiculous childish tyrannical nonsense. She can't even manage herself, what is she doing at the helm of a whole school community??

  9. I feel so sorry for the teachers that work for this bully and the students that have to witness her abuse. This woman is toxic and needs to be removed from education. What she did amounts to public shaming of these teachers, although it is having the opposite effect of shaming her! Why is the superintendent protecting her? I don't know how any public school can just throw away furniture.

  10. Anyone following the Rafe Esquith case? He filed a 1 billion dollar lawsuit against LAUSD for ageism. Kind of smells like that situation.

  11. Lol I keep trying to post replies but it keeps re-routing me so hopefully it works this time. Anyone following the Rafe Esquith case where he has filed a 1 billion dollar lawsuit against the LAUSD for ageism? Kind of similar, perhaps.

  12. I'm so happy the BAT coomunity got this incident put in the public. I sympathize with these teachers. I am two years in with a great principal, however the three years prior to that it was horrible, and that's putting it mildly. I ended up in the ER under yhe other principal due to anxiety. Our principal was a bully. I wasattacked by her several times for no apparent reason. I always followed directives as did everyone else for fear of retribution. I serve on our unions bord of directors and had teachers telling me that if they were caught talking to me they would be in trouble with her, so teachers would sneak to my classroom when they could. I agree with the post that there is an underlying issue here. I think moatteachera go into admin because they were poor teachers and have a need to control others. Not all but many. Inmy 15 years of teaching I have had 8 principals and only two of them were good. I can't wait to see what happens to this principal in New York. I really hope the parents stand up to her and teachers as well.

  13. To me, the principal's behavior looks like a classic abuser. She flies into a rage and does something abusive that she can't control. Then she rationalizes how it's someone else's fault while she acts to undo the damage on the surface where the public can see it.

    This pattern has probably happened many times over the years and will probably continue to repeat itself. It creates a toxic environment for everyone--teachers, staff, children and families. The principal needs to be removed from the school and she needs psychiatric help.

  14. This principal should be fired. 1) A teacher's workspace should be up to him/her to configure. I would NOT be okay with my principal telling me that I can't have a desk (where I do all my grading, paperwork). This should be a violation of working conditions/the teaching contract at some point. 2) Doesn't she have anything better to do with her time than go around taking inventory of who eventually wants their desk back and who doesn't? 3) She just wasted the time of her entire staff on something trivial and of complete uselessness to the education of the children they are supposed to be serving. So counterproductive.


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