Discriminated against because of union membership

345 Webster Ave.
Brooklyn, New York 11230
May 29, 1995

Mr. Saul Bruckner, Principal
Edward R. Murrow High School
1600 Avenue L
Brooklyn, New York 11230

Dear Mr. Bruckner,

Pursuant to Article 22B1 of the Agreement between the Board of Education and the United Federation of Teachers, I request a conference with you to discuss various and sundry actions, writings, and behaviors taken by yourself, Mrs. Joyce Coppin (Superintendent of Brooklyn High Schools), Mr. Ira Cohen (Assistant Principal of Supervision), Miss Clare Cohen (Coordinator of Peer Intervention Program), Mr. Joseph Lo Shiavo (Board Conciliator), Mr. John Ferrandino (Supervising Superintendent, Division of High Schools), Ms. Winifred Radigan (Director of Instruction, Office of the Superintendent of Brooklyn High Schools), and Mr. Ramon Cortines (Chancellor) which has the effect of discriminating against me because of my membership in, participation in, and association with the United Federation of Teachers.

I will be accompanied by Mr. William Forster, Chapter Chairperson.

The following is a partial description of my association with the United
Federation of Teachers.


1) I was the grievant in a Step 3 grievance appeal regarding the matter of being given a program out of license on November 1, 1988.


2) I was the grievant in an Article 24 conciliation meeting on June 24, 1993 with Miss Radigan , Mr. Frank Volpicella (UFT District Representative), and Mrs. Coppin concerning the elimination of non-Regents science courses from the instruction at Erasmus Hall High School.


3) I wrote a letter to Chancellor Cortines signed by eighty percent of the teachers at Erasmus Hall High School criticizing discipline policies of the Board of Education. This letter was received by the Chancellor's office on March 28, 1994.


4) On May 26, 1994 I was elected to the post of Vice-Chair of High Schools for the United Federation of Teachers Science Committee and the Subject Area Representative for Physics.


5) On June 22, 1994 I addressed the New York City Board of Education on behalf of the Science Committee of the United Federation of Teachers. My remarks concerned the "Mathematics and Science Initiative" and alluded to an incident in which Mr. Joseph Selch, President of the Biology Teachers Association and teacher at John Jay High School was harassed by his supervisors for writing a letter to Mr. Cortines critical of the "Mathematics and Science Initiative".


6) I wrote a letter to the Honorable James F. Brennan, Member of Assembly, on August 22, 1994 discussing the Board of Education's discipline policies in connection with the School Safety Act of 199. Mr. John J. Ferrandino received a copy of this letter on or about September 16, 1994.


7) On September 5, 1994 the New York Times published a letter written by me which criticized the Chancellor's decision to eliminate certain non-Regents science courses.


8) In September of 1994 I was elected to the Delegate's Assembly of the United Federation of Teachers.


9) On October 17, 1994 a photograph of me addressing a group of educators was published in the New York Teacher. The caption read "David Roemer, a teacher at Brooklyn's Edward R. Murrow High School, explains his strong reservations about the chancellor's new science mandate".


10) On January 24, 1995 I testified at a public hearing held at 110 Livingston Street by the State Education Department of New York about violence in our schools.


I would like to discuss the following acts of harassment:


1) On February 3, 1995 Mrs. Coppin distributed a letter which directed you to give me an unsatisfactory rating at the end of the year. This act maliciously interfered with the agreement we entered into to conciliate our professional disagreements about how to teach Regents Physics under Article 24 as described in a letter from Mr. Lo Shiavo dated December 2, 1994 (Case # 31-94).


2) On April 3, 1995 Miss Clare Cohen, without cause, terminated our agreement under the Peer Intervention Program and deprived me of the support and services of Mr. Vincent Bono.


3) On observation reports dated September 26, 1994; October 20, 1994; November 23, 1994; March 28, 1995; and May 15, 1995 Mr. Cohen falsely stated that the observed lessons were unsatisfactory. Mr. Cohen knew that the lessons were satisfactory but made those statements for improper reasons.


4) On observation reports dated October 5,1994; October 31, 1994; November 18, 1994; December 13, 1995; and April 4, 1995 you falsely stated that the observed lessons were unsatisfactory. You knew that the lessons were satisfactory but made those statements for improper reasons.


5) On May 22, 1995 in a Step 1 grievance denial you stated that the observation report of Mr. Cohen dated May 15 was fair and accurate.


6) On September 28, 1994 Mr. Cohen placed a letter in my file ordering me to discontinue my methods of teaching Regents Physics in violation of Article 24A1e.


7) About the times of October 20, 1994; November 23, 1994; March 28, 1995, after it was apparent that there was a disagreement between us about how to teach Regents Physics, Mr. Cohen entered my classroom, took notes during the lesson, asked me questions immediately after the lesson, and conducted post observation conferences. These actions were not done to improve instruction or to otherwise carry out lawful duties, but for improper reasons and in violation of the terms and condition of the agreement to conciliate
our professional differences of opinion.


8) About the times of October 5,1994; October 31, 1994; November 18, 1994; December 13, 1995; April 4, 1995 and on May 15, 1995 you entered my classroom, took notes during the lesson, asked me questions immediately after the lesson, and conducted post observation conferences. These actions were not done to improve instruction or to otherwise carry out lawful duties, but for improper reasons and in violation of the terms and condition of the agreement to conciliate our professional differences of opinion.


9) On October 24, 1994 in a letter placed in my file Mr. Cohen made inaccurate and unfair statements about my conduct outside of the classroom. On November 18, 1994 you held a step 1 grievance hearing and refused to delete the inaccurate and unfair statements.


10) On April 25, 1995 Mr. Ira Cohen placed a letter in my file criticizing me for failing to adopt his methods of teaching in violation of our agreement to conciliate our differences.


11) Mr. Lo Shiavo failed to contact Mrs. Coppin "within 5 school days" to determine if Mrs. Coppin was going to address the issue of conciliation as called for in Article 24A2.


12) Mr. Lo Shiavo did not appoint the conciliator, Mr. Harold Matthes, until March 29, 1995 in violation of Article 24A3, which calls for the conciliation process to begin "within 10 days".


13) Mr. Matthes soon after March 29, 1995 advised Mr. Lo Shiavo that you refused to conciliate, but Mr. Lo Shiavo took no action.


14) Mr. Matthes soon after March 29, 1995 advised Mr. Lo Shiavo of Mrs. Coppin's letter of February 3, 1995 which interfered with the conciliation process, but Mr. Lo Shiavo took no action.


15) On May 3, 1995 Mr. William Forster, Chapter Chairperson of Edward R. Murrow, wrote to Mr. Lo Shiavo inquiring about the status of the conciliation and reported Mrs. Coppin's letter of February 3, 1995 but Mr. Lo Shiavo did not respond to the letter.


16) On May 16, 1995 Miss Radigan told me that I would receive an unsatisfactory rating at the end of the year. This violates the terms and conditions of our agreement to conciliate.


17) On December 13, 1994 and April 4, 1995 in observation reports you threatened to give me an unsatisfactory rating at the end of the year in violation of our agreement to conciliate.


18) On April 3, 1995, May 16, 1995, and May 26, 1995, you threatened to file charges against me for incompetence in a 3020a procedure in violation of our agreement to conciliate.


The remedy sought will be for the Board of Education to continue with the conciliation process in good faith. This requires that I receive a satisfactory rating at the end of the 1994-1995 school year, and beginning in September 1995, my annual performance reviews be based on an Annual Performance Option as describe in Article 8I2b.


Very truly yours,


David K. Roemer


cc: B. Forster, Chapter Chairperson