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Since the 1960’s, Temporary Reassignment Centers have existed to provide a place outside of the school for Teachers accused of Serious Misconduct. State Tenure Law requires that Teachers be formally charged, scheduled and afforded a 3020-A Hearing for the charges they are accused of within a specific time frame.
At the conclusion of the Hearing and after a Teacher has been allowed an opportunity to defend themselves, a Teacher’s guilt or innocence is decided by an Independent Arbitrator and the Teacher is either returned to their school, fined or terminated.
In 2002 after Mayor Bloomberg was given Mayoral Control of NYC Schools, Temporary Reassignment Centers began to be used to warehouse Teachers and other school support staff who the system wanted to rid themselves of and has since been called Rubber Rooms. Before Mayor Bloomberg took over NYC schools, the Pedagogical staff of NYC’s 80,000 Teachers had 347 Teachers waiting in Temporary Reassignment Centers throughout the five boroughs of NYC.
Today over 1000 Teachers sit in over 13 Rubber Rooms located in remote sites throughout the city with the vast majority being whistleblowers or activist who have spoken out against the rising corruption they witnessed taking place at their schools. Educational Chancellor Joel Klein and Mayor Bloomberg has been very skillful at portraying Teachers in Rubber Rooms as criminals and their need to be there as a means of protecting students. However, statistics show that over 80% of the Teachers in Rubber Rooms are over 40 years old and are reaching top salary.
Former union protections have given way to big money interest as the number of Rubber Rooms increase and the incidences of Teachers accused of frivolous charges continues to mount. NYC taxpayers are footing a 100 million dollar cost to maintain these sites where Teachers report everyday and sit for months and years awaiting their Hearing with no assignments or work duties.
The legality of the NYC Rubber Rooms, many of which are windowless overcrowded firetraps that have been formally cited by the NY Department of Labor for safety and health violations has never been challenged. The New York State Legislature is presently conducting hearings regarding Mayoral Control and while many grass roots organizations have mobilized to speak against it, the issue of Rubber Rooms is rarely heard.
It is essential that opposing voices be heard and actions taken to publicize the Civil and Human Rights Abuses inherent with Rubber Rooms in order to counteract continued Mayoral Control since Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure either sunsets in June 2009 or is extended for another 8 years.
'Guantanamo for Teachers' exposes the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in a NYC Rubber Room located on 7th Avenue in Manhattan and the emergency exit that it is required that they use in case of a fire. The photos were shot by a Teachers who acted as a Whistleblower and subsequently reassigned to the room to wait for 3 years to defend herself against the charges.
As a result of her interview for a NYC daily newspaper about NYC Rubber Rooms, she was defrauded of her salary and wrongfully terminated. Join the movement to close NYC Rubber Rooms and confront big money interests to dismantle the educational system in NYC in order to privatize it.
Take action by visiting www.Teachers4JusticeNow.Org and donating to help mount a legal campaign to expose the conditions in NYC Rubber Rooms or by signing our petition. Visit www.Rubberroommovie.com to see our video.