New O’Keefe video shows teachers bragging about bulletproof tenure rules
Conservative activist James O’Keefe released two new videos in Monday in which unionized New Jersey educators appear to boast about how it’s virtually impossible to fire tenured teachers, even those who make racist statements to students.
O’Keefe, best known as the force behind last year’s ACORN scandal, said the first video was shot at a meeting of the New Jersey Education Association in August. Entitled Teachers Gone Wild, the tape shows people identified as teachers speaking in what appears to be a hotel lounge, as well as in a conference room. O’Keefe says the video was gathered by a “team of videographers,” whom he and his colleagues at Veritas Visuals hooked up with hidden microphones and cameras. O’Keefe says the journalists “weren’t in costumes.”
In one video, Alissa Ploshnick, who is identified as a special educator at Passaic Public Schools, seems to verify the worst suspicions of education reformers. “It’s really hard to fire a tenured teacher,” she says. “It’s really hard – like you seriously have to be in the hallway fucking somebody.”
As an example, Ploshnick said, “we had a teacher that just recently was like – you NIGGER,” adding that the teacher was demoted, but is still teaching.
O’Keefe is organizing an event Monday in front of New Jersey’s statehouse in Trenton to call for that specific teacher’s identification – and dismissal.
“We think that that’s unconscionable that a teacher could call a student the ‘N-word’ and we can’t fire the teacher,” O’Keefe said in a phone interview with The Daily Caller. “We’ve got Dr. Laura getting fired for using racial slurs. Then we’ve got teachers calling kids the ‘N-word’ and we can’t even fire them.”
O’Keefe said that one of his colleagues, Shaughn Adeleye, posed as a concerned parent and called an administrator at Passaic public schools, where the racial incident purportedly occurred. Lawrence Everett, who according to the Passaic City Schools website is the district’s assistant superintendent, is quoted in O’Keefe’s second video as saying that while a teacher calling a student the “N-word” is “definitely unacceptable,” the teacher in question could not be fired immediately because of “contractual stipulations.”
“What usually happens is a due process, we’ll call the teacher in, have her conference and decide on what the disciplinary measures will be,” Everett says in the video.
Adeleye asked Everett if it is possible a teacher could remain on staff even after an investigation showed the teacher used a racial slur, to which Everett responded, “Yes, that’s very possible, yes.”
“We can not just walk in and fire a tenured teacher,” Everett said. “We can take certain disciplinary measures. Disciplinary measures could be suspension, it could be various forms. But, if you think that Monday, this teacher will not be in front of a classroom, no, that’s not going to happen, sir.”
Everett goes on to say it will take “at least a year” to remove a tenured teacher from a classroom.
Still in character as a parent of a student purportedly called the “N-word,” Adeleye asked Everett if his son could be moved to another class. Everett responded that he would have to research the other class’s size before he made such a promise.
The NJEA has not responded to TheDC’s request for comment.