Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Were My Staff the Only Ones Injured on the Way to Work Today?

I took a sick day today because I got some sort of food poisoning (or something) yesterday afternoon and feel pretty awful. But right after school I got an irate phone call from my AP. She explained to me how livid she was with the mayor for not closing schools today. She felt he put everyone's safety in jeopardy with the amount of ice on the sidewalks and streets around our school.

Apparently, on their way to work, virtually every member of my staff fell before they got through the front door. My principal threw out her back, and a number of teachers had massive bruises. The train that I normally take to school wasn't running - so I'm not sure how I would have made it to school even if I weren't sick. Only one of my eleventh-grade team teachers managed to get to school by 9:35. Because so many people were out and we didn't have enough subs, that teacher had to keep the entire 11th grade in the same classroom between 7:30 and 9:35.

Yesterday, on the way to work, our school secretary got in a massive car accident in the snow on the highway, and apparently managed to spin her car around. Luckily she's okay.

My AP told me the only people frantically trying to go anywhere this morning after last night's ice storm were the public employees that Bloomberg has taken so painstakingly to vilifying. She was pissed.

I haven't seen any complaints on any of the listserves or the blogs in NYC about the mayor's decision to keep schools open today. Was it only in the South Bronx that it was this bad? What were other people's experiences?


  1. You wrote, "She explained to me how livid she was with the mayor for closing schools today."

    Did you mean to write, "She explained to me how livid she was with the mayor for NOT closing schools today."?

  2. Thanks for clarifying! Sorry to hear you all were hit with more 'winter weather' yesterday. Here in DC they predicted a big ice storm, but all we got was rain!

  3. So, in NYC the mayor is the one in charge of calling school closures? He is the head of the school system? I'm confused!

  4. This incident reminds me of something that happened at my school twenty years ago. There was a terrible rainstorm that left huge puddles on the playground of my California campus. For anyone who doesn't know, rain causes big problems in a state that isn't used to it. Well, the reading specialist didn't have any rain gear and was hesitant to walk the distance to the kindergarten room where she was expected to teach a lesson. The principal said, "Oh I have a great idea" and came out with plastic baggies and rubber bands. She placed these on the 50 year-old teacher's feet, fastened them with rubber bands at the ankles, and proudly declared, "Now you have boots!" The teacher smiled and went on her way. Two steps outside and she was flat on her back but otherwise unhurt. Everyone had a good laugh.

    Then there was the time when the same principal asked two of us to help her move bookcases. We both agreed and so the three of us foolishly pushed these extremely heavy wooden shelves around the room. The next day the principal was out with severe back pains and I was at the doctor's with a herniated disc. The other teacher was OK. I was out for six weeks but didn't take workman's comp because I was afraid of getting the principal in trouble. I know I've made her sound foolish but she was actually the best principal in my long career and was recognized for her excellence by her peers, the teachers and the state. But like most of us, she sometimes exhibited bad judgment and no one had the sense to say "That's not a good idea."

    I tell these stories because educators offer so much for their students and for society in general and don't deserve the treatment they are getting at the present time.

  5. @the other Anonymous post: Bloomberg lobbied for mayoral control several years back. The legislature and the UFT acquiesced. About 2 or 3 years ago, mayoral control was set to expire, but the Legislature extended it. There has only recently been semi-public debate as to exactly what mayoral "control" means - Bloomberg and his cronies interpret it as absolute authority. The ordinary citizenry, or unwashed masses, as we sometimes like to refer to ourselves, interpret mayoral "control" as consolidated authority but not absolute rule. Clearly, we are at odds with the Emperor. When Bloomberg was forced to appoint a shadow Chancellor in order to get the waiver for Black, he publicly stated, "don't make any mistake, there'll only be one person in charge" (or something close to that). What Bloomberg meant was himself.

  6. ReflectiveEducator, while we're on typo patrol, at the end of your post you have "the mayor's decision to keep school's open". "Schools" is plural, not possessive, in that case, so you need to lose the apostrophe.

    Carry on!

  7. It sounds like your AP is an effective and positive leader for your school.
    I hope all is well now with the teachers in your school.

    Oh, I live on Long Island and it was only really bad between 4:30 to 7:00am. If anything, a 2 hour delay would have been sufficient than a closing.
    There was no way that Long Islanders commuting to Brooklyn, Queens or Manhattan could get to their destination with the early morning ice storm.

  8. If the teachers couldn't get to school, and I don't doubt the problems had, how did the students get there? At the school were I taught, the teachers would be there but no students.

  9. It's a mayor's decision? Our decisions are made by our superintendent, and he takes safety very seriously.

  10. dkzody: It was a little more difficult for teachers coming from Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and NJ than many of the kids, who live in the community. That being said, I'm told only about half the kids showed up.

    Anon @ 228: I'd refer you to Anon @700's comment.

  11. I suffered a permanent back injury several years ago when I fell on ice while helping an older teacher start his car in the school parking lot. I have not had a pain free day or night since. The district chose to save money by limiting plowing and the entire lot had a slick layer of ice. Now I am unemployed and the union will not help. The school district said I am too disabled to work and Work Comp denies the claim. Where is there help in MN?