As I entered the school building, on Thursday April 26, I was met by Principal Linda Hill, Assistant Principal of Security Joanne Aguirre and Safety Agent Gordon. I was asked to step into the auditorium and was handed papers to sign. They stated that I was to report to a reassignment facility and not to return to IS 49 until I have written permission (It did not indicate who the permission should be from). I handed over my keys to Ms. Hill and stated ..”a day that will live in infamy.”
As I write this blog post, 24 hrs later, I am still not told the alleged charges that were brought up against me. I sit with other educators who have been here in these “non existent” rubber rooms for months. I have to say that whispers of this were echoing for a month though. See my post below from my first site:
UPDATE 3/31/12: ProtectPortelos.org is moving! I am working on a better site with more interactivity, RSS Feed, sharing commenting. Your input is very important to me.
**Word on the streets (hallways) is that they are planning a drastic measure to get me out of school before the upcoming UFT elections. Do not be surprised if an “anonymous” 311 call is made accusing me of doing something awful. Either way they will have to take me out and put me on desk duty while they investigate.
Interestingly enough I also found this email, dated over a year ago, from Principal Hill. It was in response to my first big attempt to bring to light issues at the school. I spoke up at a Staff Meeting on April 1, 2011 (Maybe I was the fool that day). In response to me bringing up those issues I received a lengthy email in which I just took a short excerpt out and placed in red below:
On Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 6:01 PM, Linda Hill wrote:
PS No one will ever discipline you unfairly because you spoke out! You don’t have to “watch your back” in that respect. I know the adults in the building appreciate that they are disciplined respectfully, privately, and fairly should they commit a transgression.
I made the mistake of believing her I guess. Perhaps she was right and I am being disciplined fairly and I deserve this.
On Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 12:28 PM, Mr. Portelos wrote:
> Ms. Hill,
> Thank you for calling on me on Friday at the meeting. I’m sorry if you
> think that might not have been the time and place for that discussion. I
> know I’m just a tech teacher with only 4 years experience, but I love Berta
> Dreyfus and consider it my second home. There are many days I actually spend
> more time there than in my actual home. I also wake up early hours on the
> weekend distressed about the condition of our students and our school. I
> could only imagine what stress you feel having to deal with everything and
> everyone. You were right, who would trade all the Berta Stock for a day as
> We, the staff, all talk and judge and point fingers behind closed doors
> and never bring these matters to light. This helps no one and I have had
> enough of hearing the complaints of my fellow colleagues as well as my own.
> From my seat in Town Hall on Friday I could pretty much see most of the
> faces of those in the room. I saw a staff that was unified and nodding in
> agreement when you mentioned that we need to work as one cohesive force and
> leave the past behind to begin the healing. Most of us agree that this
> “school source” should not have spoken to the press and bad mouthed anyone.
> However, when you picked up the paper and read the data to us about most
> incidents happen in the classroom and there isn’t enough engagement, the
> faces of most staff dropped and eyes rolled. Again, if they disagreed, they
> weren’t going to say anything to you but seconds after the meeting they were
> going to start talking behind your back. That is when I took a deep breath,
> raised my hand and brought up what I knew all the teachers have been
> thinking and saying… “Problem students seem to be rewarded and many
> students do things because they truly believe nothing will happen to them.
> What happened for the rest of the day surprised me but also reconfirmed my
> beliefs. Teachers as well as Paras were patting me on the back, giving me
> thumbs up, high 5s and shaking my hand with words like “Thank you.” and “We
> all have been thinking that and didn’t have the guts to say it.” I even
> received calls to my classroom. Unfortunately many also came to me with
> “Watch your back!” , “You’ll have a letter in your file within the week!”
> and “Get your resume together!”. I feel sorry that those staff members even
> have that negative mentality and fear. Those thoughts are not conducive to a
> unified school community.
> Linda, I feel so proud going to the elementary schools with Matt, hyping
> up parents for our TAP and interviewing our potential All-Stars.
> and administration working together.
> I hope we can all align our arrows, pointing in the same direction and
> proceed with an unstoppable force to bring the school to the top. I am here,
> as always, at your service to help try and come up with any solutions.
> -Mr. Portelos
> STEM Lab Teacher
> Berta Dreyfus IS 49