Ina recent story I made mention of my wife and I fighting for my professional life against large counter-parties: the UFT ($180 Million) and NYCDOE ($25.6 Billion) banded together to revoke my principal license, without cause and against the expressed objection of my UFT staff, my superintendent, and parent leaders at the school on behalf of the students. I did my best to avoid involving students in this ordeal as they have their own drama to deal with.
To a high school educator who has dealt with identifying and intervening with bullying at the student level for the past fifteen years, all of this looks a lot like bullying. I will articulate how those with tremendous power circled up to attack me, isolated me socially, and used mistruths to launch attacks against me for no apparent reason. Just the dynamic of being attacked by my employer is a setup that has an inherent power dynamic — they have the purse strings to my life. And they pulled them shut, repeatedly.
I am writing this series of stories for others to recognize these adult bullying tactics to help prevent them from happening. I cannot tell you how surreal it is when everything suddenly comes crashing down, as you are escorted from your community by agency officials.
If you work for the government this will be particularly relevant, but likewise for any large institution characterized by bureaucracy. It takes years for this type of scheme to play out and that slow speed of attacks followed by legal proceedings can provide a great early advantage. The longer the case drags out this advantage quickly evaporates as financial resources grow thin as a desire to just move on with life grows steadily.
Lucky for me, my superintendent and his deputies started warning me of the constant baseless attacks against me about eighteen months before things came to a head. They were able to shut down the most outrageous complaints brought to each meeting with the UFT district leadership over those many months. Some complaints had to be passed on to the DOE lawyers and investigative offices discussed in subsequent stories in this series.
Even though they did their best to advise me on how to protect myself, they also told me that this would most likely not end well for me. Most superintendents would not be as transparent and honest as was my own. In fact, I had had four superintendents before him who were professional, but who did not have my back despite my school’s record of outstanding student outcomes. Given that I worked for a high-poverty population, I was exposed to this type of attack. Schools serving affluent parents have a level of defense which I did not enjoy.
Read the rest of this article on Medium.com.