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New York City to End “Rubber Room” Policy for Teachers

“Finally, Leeds Brown Law, P.C.’s battle against the intolerable rubber room policy is coming to an end.” Jeffrey K. Brown, Senior Partner at Leeds Brown Law, P.C.

The New York Post is reporting that a deal has been struck with the teachers unions to put an end to New York City’s controversial rubber room policy. Under this policy, a tenured teacher could be removed from the classroom and forced to report to an empty room with no work to do for an indefinite period while the district decides what, if any, charges to bring against them. During this waiting period, a teacher has no ability to clear their name and must pass the time reading magazines, playing cards or engaging in other activities that have no relation to why they entered the educational field.

Teaching is one of the most noble and time-honored professions in our society. The vast majority of people who become teachers are hard workers who answer society’s call to guide our children as they mature into young adults. Becoming a teacher requires years of hard work in the form of college, graduate school, student teaching, and certification exams followed by the rigors of earning tenure. However, all of this hard work can be for nothing if a teacher has the misfortune of encountering school administrators who, for what ever reason, decide that a teacher should not be in the classroom. Administrators can make life very difficult for a teacher, at times even scrutinizing the teacher’s every action looking for an excuse to bring disciplinary charges against them.

A 3020a hearing is an evaluation of a tenured teacher to determine whether a school district has grounds to dismiss them from employment. These hearings are before an administrative officer and can take years to be heard. During the period between when the accusations are initially made and the hearing, a teacher may find themselves confined to one of a district’s “rubber rooms.” These rooms are a purgatory where the teacher must report to while school is in session. While in the rubber room, the teacher is paid their full salary, however, they are not allowed to teach and must sit all day with no meaningful work to do.

Leeds Brown Law, P.C. has been staunch advocate against the rubber room policy for many years. The attorneys at Leeds Brown Law, P.C. believe that the rubber room is an affront to a teacher’s dignity and an insult based on the many years of hard work that they experienced to earn the credentials necessary to teach. It is also a waste of resources that could be better spent on the education of our children. According to New York City Schools Chancellor, Joel Klein, more than $30 million dollars per year is paid out to teachers sitting in the rubber room. Recently various news outlets have been reporting that districts are finally starting to realize that rubber rooms are not the answer and are reevaluating their policies. The New York Post reports that a deal has been struck with the teachers union to end the rubber room policy in New York City. According to the Post, teachers accused of incompetence must be brought up on charges within 10 days of being removed from the classroom, or 60 days if they are removed for misconduct. However, there are still many teachers in other locations confined to rubber rooms with no end in sight and Leeds Brown Law, P.C. attorneys will not rest until all teachers are afforded a speedy and fair hearing as a matter of course.

While teachers unions may provide a lawyer to represent a teacher facing a 3020a hearing, often these attorneys have very large case loads and simply cannot afford the time to deal with these hearings in an expeditious manner. Leeds Brown Law, P.C. has represented several teachers that have found themselves confined to the rubber room. Through the efforts of Leeds Brown Law, P.C. attorneys, teachers have had their cases heard within weeks, not years. Leeds Brown Law, P.C. lawyers have also assisted teachers in pursuing all of their legal rights, including court actions against administrators who wrongly accuse them of impropriety.

Teachers who have been harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against, who have been reassigned to the “Rubber Room” or who are the subject of a 3020a proceeding should call Leeds Brown Law, P.C. at (212) 661-4370 or (516) 873-9550.

For more information, contact Leeds Brown Law, PC at 1-800-585-4658

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