Friday, May 22, 2015

Teachers Don't Get Any Stinkin' Rights

"No greater instrument has been devised for arriving at truth than to give a person in jeopardy of serious loss notice of the case against him and the opportunity to meet it." U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter

I came across this quote, inscribed in the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse, while looking through some editorial drawings of the Boston Bomber case that just wrapped up.  It hit a chord, because, this "instrument" is being granted to murderers, rapists, child molesters, and the like, but not teachers.  You know, those horrible criminals that devote their lives to educating children?  Why should they get the same rights as those who injure and kill, right?  Screw you!, teachers, who are the 5th lowest paid occupation required to have a Master's degree.  That's what you get for wanting to make a difference.  Now, if you were to sell drugs or take up organized crime, then we'll consider giving you due process.

Notice in the sample arrest warrants their is an area for listing the offenses.  It is unlawful to arrest someone without stating the nature of the charges.  Not so with teachers, sadly.  Beneath the warrants is a redacted copy of a notice of a disciplinary hearing, in which no details of the charges are listed.  This is not an exception, sadly.  It is the rule.  How is one to defend oneself without knowing what the accusations are?  It is harassment, plain and simple, and our union tacitly allows it.

Yes,  the union.  Detractors of the union say that teachers have guaranteed employment and there is no way to fire a bad teacher.  Pro-union representatives say that tenure just ensures that teachers get due process.  In today's "right to work" environment, this is unusual, yes, but I would argue that we are not granted even this.  The system is stacked against us, and we have no actual rights at all.

It's been called a labor of love, the teaching profession.  How many of us still love it?

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