Ranger Says Dallas ISD Has Reinstated Teacher Put on Leave For Letter to Edwin Flores

central elementary.jpg
But a few hours ago, Rena Honea, president of AFT-Alliance, held a press conference and posted this petition demanding the Dallas Independent School District reinstate fourth-grade Central Elementary bilingual teacher Joseph Drake, who was put on leave late last week after he sent trustee Edwin Flores an angry email regarding the board's vote Thursday to formally extend teachers' workdays by 45 minutes. Flores says he was particularly troubled by Drake's mention of his properties, including his home address, and that per DISD board policy he sent the missive to 3700 Ross, which suspended Drake.

But moments ago trustee Carla Ranger posted a simple sentence to her blog: "Dallas ISD Central Elementary teacher Joseph Drake is scheduled to be reinstated today and return to work tomorrow." Libby Daniels, a district spokesperson, wouldn't confirm: "We cannot discuss personnel matters," she said when asked. (Sigh -- and wasn't Flores just talking about a "communication problem" last night?) When I called Honea to ask if she'd heard the news, she said she had not. Nevertheless, she told Unfair Park, "I am so glad to hear that."

She said that perhaps everyone has learned a lesson from this unfortunate incident. As in: "Hopefully the district was able to take a step back and take a better look at this and see it for what it was. Certainly Dr. Flores may have felt like he had been threatened, especially having children in his home. But for people in the classroom they saw it as an outcry of the frustration people in the classroom are feeling, and he was expressing his First Amendment right. Now let's let Joe get back to the classroom and the great job he does for his kids."

Update at 6 p.m.: Trustee Mike Morath dispatches his thoughts on the subject ... Writes Morath:
I can't speak for all Trustees, but this is my take on it:

The safety and security of our students, employees and volunteers is really priority #1; without that, school doesn't work. And put in context, the citing of a public official's home address in an angry email (even though it is public information) is crossing a line. After all, the day before this email was sent, at the board meeting one speaker issued physical threats to the trustees, stating that "me & my boys will come to your houses" if the vote went the wrong way. While I don't yet have children, I can assure you I would have thought about my wife for more than a passing moment if this email had been addressed to me, even if I ultimately dismissed it as innocent.

Democracy fails when our policy differences can't be resolved with debate & deliberation -- no matter how heated -- and instead we revert to the use (or threatened use) of force. But it also fails when opposition isn't tolerated. It appears that Mr. Drake did not intend his email to be a physical threat; he was just extremely frustrated and exercised a temporary lapse of judgment in his reference to a home address. I believe the administration did the right thing by looking into this, determining nothing was intended as a threat to the trustee (or potentially to students), and returning a (justifiably frustrated) teacher back to his classroom

 But it is still extremely unfortunate, because we want to change the culture of the district to encourage open & honest feedback from employees, and given the fever-pitch coverage of what appears to me to be a pretty fair yet deliberate response to his email, we've sent a giant signal discouraging open feedback - exactly the opposite of what we want. I suppose what this means is democracy is a messy business, and running a major urban school system is really ground zero of that business, for good and ill.
My Voice Nation Help
42 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
CheeryBitch
CheeryBitch

The DISD Administration is just an absolute JOKE. What a disgrace they are.

Dallas Dad
Dallas Dad

Alliance-AFT started a petition to speak up for for our hardworking teachers and end the bullying they suffer in DISD. (I'm glad that Mr. Drake has been reinstated but I've heard from teachers that administrators are threatening and bullying them across the district.) Everyone that supports the teachers should sign the petition. If you work for DISD you can sign anonymously.

http://action.aft.org/p/dia/ac...

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

Today Mr. Drake is returning to work. We have more work to do.

First two board members must change their minds and support teachers and join the other three board members who voted against this policy to begin with. This additional 45 minutes on the clock only reduces the flexibility of teachers schedules. That flexibility helps make possible all the juggling teachers must do to get their work done. This suddenly mandated "on the clock" 45 minutes a day is simply a professional insult that destroys some critical flexibility. How will DISD benefit from it? Board members need to take it back and apologize.

Second, then we also must contact our legislators to have some, if not all, of the funding restored so that budget cuts for our children's schools can stop.

Here is a list of Dallas Area Legislators and how they voted on Senate Bill 1 regarding the $5 billion in cuts for our schools: http://schoolarchiveproject.bl...

The votes were not strictly along party lines!

Additional information on SB1 and how to contact legislators can be secured from the Texas Legislature Online web site at http://www.legis.state.tx.us/The problems in our schools are much deeper than the tragic series of mistakes over the past week.

Anon
Anon

People wonder why unions form, or why good employees are willing to protect the incompetent through the union structure. But after reading a story like this, can anyone deny that they have value? I have no knowledge of whether Mr Drake is a good or bad employee, but neither would have saved him from being disciplined in this case.

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

It is certainly good news that Mr. Drake will return to work.  But we have more work to do. First two board members must change their minds and support teachers and change this strangely implemented policy of the additional 45 minutes on the clock.  That only reduces the flexibility of teachers schedules.  That flexibility helps make possible all the juggling teachers must do to get their work done. This suddenly mandated "on the clock" 45 minutes a day is simply a professional insult that destroys some critical flexibility.  How will DISD benefit from it? Board members need to take it back and apologize.

Then we also must contact our legislators to have some, if not all, of the funding restored so that budget cuts for our children's schools can stop.  Here is a list of Dallas Area Legislators and how they voted on Senate Bill 1 regarding the $5 billion in cuts for our schools: http://schoolarchiveproject.bl... The votes were not strictly along party lines!

Additional information on SB1 and how to contact legislators can be secured from the Texas Legislature Online web site at http://www.legis.state.tx.us/

The problems in our schools are much deeper than the tragic series of mistakes over the past week.

Bettyculbreath
Bettyculbreath

Never should have been put on leave.That is the Dallas Way , take away your pay or position if you have a brain and not silent  will speak up  for RIGHT and TRUTH.        

Guest
Guest

Of course, the absolute best way to treat someone who you think has actually physically threatened you and your family is to suspend them from work so they'll have all sorts of extra time to plan and extra incentive to follow through with the threats.

If I thought someone had legitimately threatened me, my call would be to the police followed by a trip to Ray's to restock the ammunition. I wouldn't forward the email to the threatener's boss.

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

And yet Edwin, with a PhD and a law degree, wonders why DISD has such a high grievance rate.

Bullies NEVER Win!
Bullies NEVER Win!

Final Score:Mr. Flores: 0Mr. Drake, DISD Educators, all that is good and right in the world: 1

biscuit98
biscuit98

Mike Morath just couldn't leave well enough alone, could he? Now he has proven that he is nothing but a giant dickhead, proven it to everyone. Danger lurks in public information that was cited as proof of Flores' "wealth," even though it seems Flores must not have a thriving biz to have accumulated so little. Maybe he''s not that good of an attorney.

But according to Morath, that citation of accumulated goods bespoke a threat, danger. What an idiot. And you know, it's kind of hard for democratic debate to occur when the little boys go and cower in the back room or sneak policy changes in where they can't be debated.

So Morath, now we all have a permanent picture of your dickheadedness.

But back to the policy stuff. It's against the law for dear Edwin to direct the administrators other than the supt to do a darned thing. Against the freaking law. Check it out, dickhead Morath. So Edwin was scared? Call the freaking police. Report to them that an email is holding you hostage, that it cited public information available to the whole populace. WAAAH. But directing DISD administrators to take action to put an employee in his place is against the law.

Morath, might want to study up on that.

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Morath needs to stop talking and start listening.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

OPEN LETTER TO ALL TRUSTEES:

Would it not have been a little more adult, calming and professional to just TALK to the man? Would a return email from Mr Flores stating, "Sir, I am a bit taken aback by your email. Could we please meet and discuss your frustrations with our recent vote?" have been wiser?

I see a bit of rudeness in the email, but no implied threat. We all know that many of the trustees are well-off, so that alone is not a secret. I guess since we teachers are threatened constantly by students, parents and outsiders, our radar is set to a higher level of threat analysis.

You see, all of you who do not work in DISD, they shoot first, ask questions later. They write you up first, on hearsay, on one-sided stories, or even lies. The don't want to listen, to understand or even to get to the heart of an issue. Administrators are TRAINED to attack via paperwork, to shut down opposition, complaints or concerns with "write-ups." To be put on admin leave is a ding on your career, and they know it. Many other districts ask the question, "Have you ever been on admin leave?" You have to answer truthfully. Even, and especially if you are cleared, too late. Damage is done.

We taxpayers paid for a sub for this teacher. Students, young children, wonder where their teacher was. His family worried about their livelihood. We also paid for the administrative costs of placing him on leave, pending an investigation by a dep't that is already overloaded. DISD, yet again, has egg on its face.

And finally, I lost the unofficial betting pool. My guess was Monday afternoon....

Joyce Foreman
Joyce Foreman

The Trustees addresses are public information and can be easily looked up.  These dictators are full of self importance.  Glad Mr. Drake will be back in the classroom. 

Church Lady
Church Lady

Thank you Ms Foreman for your service to all the students of the DISD.EDUCATION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT SOCIAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME!

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

I see this behavior all the time as a teacher:  provoke, provoke, provoke and then wail like a stuck pig when somebody fights back.

Or: talk trash and then TATTLE to the adult/HR when the consequences are unpleasant.

As a teacher, I've found that bullies are the biggest babies of all.  They can dish it out but they cannot take it. 

I'd like to see the policy that allowed the HR people--talk about bullies--to take an email from a trustee and translate that into putting a teacher on leave.

The HR people need to be held accountable.  Teachers have complained about HR for years.  Now it looks like the Crybaby and the Bullies have teamed up.

We can't serve kids if we are constantly under threat and being harassed by people at 3700.

Edward
Edward

It would be interesting to see what Flores had to say when he forwarded the email.

So what would the grown-up way to handle this have been? Respond to the email (or even better, call the teacher) and say "Hey, you know what? As a school board member, maybe it would be a good idea for me to meet with you in person and actually discuss what's going on."

The whole thing could have been avoided, and maybe Flores could have learned something from an actual teacher who is out there working on the battlefront.

Come to think of it: does anyone know how often/if ever DISD Board Members ever have an face-to-face contact with a real teacher? Other than PR events and photo ops.

OC Banshee
OC Banshee

Mr. Drake shared his email. So should Flores. Then we'd all know how this came about. If it was all in the name of policy...pony up Trustee Flores.  Share the comments when you sent the forward. And teachers, take note! There will be a test on this in May. That is the big threat. 

Guest
Guest

As a matter of fact I tried to meet with Mr. Flores last summer and he said it was against district policy for him to meet with an employee!  Needless to say I did not believe him since I met with other board members.  I called the Board Office and was told that it was not against district policy.  So the problem is he just really doesn't care what the teachers have to say.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Horse-hockey. It is NOT against policy for him to meet with anyone. If it is, then he has violated it with me every time we have talked.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Heres hoping this is the beginning of the end of Edwin Flores, as he's been a problem for this district since day one...

Omar Jimenez
Omar Jimenez

Well his spot is up for grabs in May. If everyone gave a shit about DISD elections, we shouldn't be a problem and support the guy who is running for his seat.

Dallas Dad
Dallas Dad

I want to see this district policy that Edwin Flores claims he was following. I know DISD policy pretty well and I haven't seen anything that requires a school board member to turn an email message over to administration.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

So who was responsible for the teacher dismissal?I have heard from several Trustees that Alan King wasn't involved (he's in Austin).Edwin will only say he turned the email "over to the administration" and then "it was out of my hands".

So who took the ridiculous and embarrassing (and possibly illegal) action?Claudia Lazono Rodriguez is apparently no stranger to teachers' right to free speech:http://www.dfpe.org/pdf/Mary-M...  or was it Jack Elrod?

What about Flores?  An attorney not so friendly to Flores sent me an excerpt from the Texas Penal code yesterday: 

4. A public servant shall not, with intent to obtain a benefit or with intent to harm or defraud another, intentionally or kno-wingly violate a law relating to the office or misuse District property, services, personnel, or any other thing of value, be-longing to the District, that has come into his or her custody by virtue of his or her office or employment. Penal Code 39.02(a)

Somebody has some 'splanin' to do.

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

Libby Daniels, a district spokesperson, wouldn't confirm: "We cannot discuss personnel matters," she said when asked. (Sigh -- and wasn't Flores just talking about a "communication problem" last night?) =================================================Reporters may think they have a right to all information, but personnel information is private for a reason. It has to be an absolute restriction, even regarding information that some may judge in context to be positive. 

But this is VERY good news!

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I was being sort of facetious, Bill. But I have since confirmed: This information is correct. Though I don't believe there are many at 3700 Ross happy it came from a trustee.

Bbetzen
Bbetzen

I understand.   and the folks at 3700 Ross should be happy this information got out as quickly as possible.  It was good that it got out just before the end of the school day. The damage being inflicted with every telling of the story was not good for DISD.

Guest
Guest

Flores says he was particularly troubled by Drake's mention of his properties, including his home address, and that per DISD board policy he sent the missive to 3700 Ross, which suspended Drake.

Flores was particularly troubled by Drake's ability to use the "search" function on the Dallas County Appraisal Department website, so he had the teacher suspended requiring extra taxpayer money be used to hire a substitute.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

And yet, I HAVE to give my home address every time I go before the board or the City Council?

Anon
Anon

I do love the gratuitous addition of "especially having children in his home". Because anything is justified if he was thinking about his children, as opposed to his enormous ego.

Edward
Edward

And it's not as if Drake is paid to deal with children 24/7.

Flores should be ashamed. I have never seen a school board member as dismissive of teachers as he is. 

ELH
ELH

How exactly is mentioning publicly available information a threat?  Perhaps we should ask Dr. Flores how much he charges for 45 min. of legal work and see if he would be willing to do that amount of work for free daily.

RTGolden
RTGolden

A better question to him would be "How many billable hours are your clients paying you to do things like go to lunch, hob nob with other lawyers, take conference calls, etc.  Wonder how big a hit Flores' income would take if his clients refused to pay for time he wasn't specifically and irrefutably working on their case.

ELH
ELH

Actually the best question would be, Why with  a JD do you refer to yourself as Dr. Flores?

TW
TW

Because he also has a Ph.D. in Molecular Immunobiology.  

Average Joe
Average Joe

Edwin Flores is such a weasel! He "felt threatened"? Please. Flores is the classic bully. He saw a chance to throw his weight around and punish one of the little people for daring to speak out and criticize his misguided policy. Flores needs to put on his big boy pants and learn how to take a little criticism. He is an elected official after all. I bet he ran and tattled any time another kid looked at him wrong when he was in school.

Michael MacNaughton
Michael MacNaughton

So who was responsible for putting this teacher on leave?Claudia Lazono Rodriguez?  Jack Elrod?I have been told that this incident did not run through Alan King.

Claudia is apparently all too familiar with conspiracies to retaliate against teachers who exercise their free speech rights:http://www.dfpe.org/pdf/Mary-M...

As for Flores-Troy I was sent a copy of the Texas Penal Code yesterday:4. A public servant shall not, with intent to obtain a benefit or with intent to harm or defraud another, intentionally or knowingly violate a law relating to the office or misuse District property, services, personnel, or any other thing of value, belonging to the District, that has come into his or her custody by virtue of his or her office or employment. Penal Code 39.02(a) 

Somebody has some 'splainin' to do!

brett
brett

the "honorable" Dr. Flores certainly realizes that a listing of all of his properties can easily be found in less than 5 minutes by searching DCAD, doesn't he?

Heywood U Bozzoff
Heywood U Bozzoff

"Dr. Flores may have felt like he had been threatened" -- if he can not stand the heat, maybe he needs to get out of the kitchen.  He does not seem to have either the temperament or the 'cojones' to do the job.

Now Trending

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...