Tag Archives: Teaching

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO MR. DECRUZ?

THE TRUTH

memcsm Former Physical Education Teacher of the Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics

 Principal: David Jimenez

Administrator: Daniel Albetta

The following e-mail was sent from Mr. Decruz to his chapter leader after Mr. Decruz was blackmailed by Principal Jimenez. Here is the account of the incident which was written immediately after it occurred by Mr. Decruz.

From: Decruz Evan

Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:42 AM

To: Chapter Leader

Subject: Annual Rating Issue

Today I was summoned by the principal for a meeting (I was given no prior notice). In his office, I sat in front of his desk where he began playing classical music loudly on his computer. I believe he did this because he assumed I was recording the conversation; which I was not. During this meeting the Mr. Jimenez provided me with what he called “options” for employment. He then served me two copies of a document. After examining the document briefly it was a letter of resignation that had my name at the end to make it look like I typed it; which I did not. The letter stated that as of September 3rd, 2012 I would resign my DOE position as physical education teacher at MCSM and resign my coaching position as well. The principal then went on to say that if I signed that document he would consider giving me an annual rating of satisfactory. He said the document would serve as a measure of good faith on my behalf. I asked him what would happen if I did not sign it. He stated that he would rate me unsatisfactory for the year. He then told me he needed to have the document signed by the end of the day or he would be forced to U-rate me. I asked him for 24 hours minimum to seek counsel. Upon stating this he snatched the papers away and tore the documents up. He said “I tried to give you a chance but you are being too difficult.” I told him that my annual rating should be based on my performance as a pedagogue and not the political interests of my supervisor, Mr. Albetta, who has been harassing me at work. I then went on to clearly state that I have no intention of returning to MCSM in the fall because of how I have been treated by Mr. Albetta and his friend. As you know, I am currently seeking a new position as physical education teacher within the DOE. I am on the open market and have interviewed for several positions. I made this very clear to the principal verbally. He said my word was not good enough and that he needed me to sign that document. When I left his office I told him to rate me fairly; based on my performance alone. Please advise. I am under duress and feel like I am being manipulated while my rights as a teacher are again being violated. Please keep this confidential.
Sincerely,
Mr. Decruz
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Despite writing this letter to his union he received no support from the central UFT Manhattan office representative, Servia Silva. Instead she suggested that Mr. Decruz resign in order to keep his license. Before 1:00pm that day Mr. Jimenez entered an unsatisfactory rating annual review of Mr. Decruz into the human resource center department, despite Mr. Decruz having all satisfactory ratings on 19 formal lessons and at least 10 informal lessons that were all satisfactory. Essentially, Mr. Decruz was forced to resign because the annual unsatisfactory rating he received from Principal Jimenez would have terminated his employment within the DOE immediately and revoked his teaching license. Mr. Decruz reluctantly resigned as his request to file charges against the principal for blackmail were never filed despite his formal request to do so. For resigning his position as teacher in MCSM, his rating was reversed to satisfactory but he was no longer employed by the DOE effective on September 3rd, 2012. He has still not found a teaching job within the DOE.

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Here is a dialogue that was recorded between Principal Jimenez and Mr. Decruz on June 27th, 2012, the last official day of classes. The uppercase letters indicate the sentences where Principal Jimenez screams, berates, and uses profanity towards Mr. Decruz. If you wish to hear the actual video leave a comment with your email and I can send it to you. A copy has already been sent to the chancellor. Just to give the conversation some context; this conversation occurred AFTER Mr. Decruz resigned from his position after he was blackmailed. Mr. Jimenez forced Mr. Decruz to resign because Mr. Albetta did not like Mr. Decruz. Aside from the strained relationship between Mr. Albetta and Mr. Decruz, the relationship between Mr. Decruz and Principal Jimenez was professional up until Mr. Decruz’s last few months in his employment at MCSM. Mr. Decruz was an outstanding teacher who completed his internship under Principal Jimenez and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in School Leadership and Educational Psychology. He also received outstanding commendations from Mr. Jimenez himself as well as his university. Mr. Decruz served as  a physical education teacher, dean, girl’s junior varsity basketball head coach, basement fire drill warden, and sat on 5 major committees. He was viewed as a goal oriented colleague who worked well with others. He was plainly dedicated to his profession and his students. He decided to transfer in February of 2012 after Mr. Albetta continually bullied and harassed him in the workplace. The last straw was when Mr. Albetta offered to extend his probation rather than grant him tenure which most of the school community believe he deserved. He offered this extension without giving any justification despite Mr. Decruz easily meeting the requirements for tenure. Albetta’s relationship with Mr. Decruz was toxic at best. Mr. Decruz tried his best to work with Mr. Albetta at first. When he was frivolously investigated and reprimanded by Mr. Albetta in March of 2010, Mr. Decruz tried to work around Mr. Albetta. When he was frivolously investigated again in December of 2012 by Mr. Albetta, Mr. Decruz stopped all communications with Mr. Albetta. Mr. Decruz was charged with corporal punishment on 2 separate occasions. Both allegations originated from Mr. Albetta and both charges were unsubstantiated, which proved Mr. Decruz’s innocence. Still, letters of reprimand remained in Mr. Decruz’s personnel file even though he had not violated any rules of his employment. Principal Jimenez promised to remove these reprimands but never followed through with any action. This is typical of him. He once said he would make equal budget cuts to his administrative cabinet to match the dollar amount of staff members that were lost to budget cuts. That never happened either. The convoluted letters of reprimand were shown to the superintendent and used as reasons to deny the tenure of Mr. Decruz.
Mr. Decruz is not the only teacher who suffered these wrongful accusations and he certainly won’t be the last as long as Mr. Albetta and Principal Jimenez remain in power at MCSM. It is worth noting in May of 2012, Mr. Albetta performed an illegal formal observation (without giving him a pre-conference; as usual) of Mr. Decruz, and harassed him in front of several of his students. After the incident he told Principal Jimenez that he was harassed by Mr. Decruz and called for Mr. Decruz’s immediate termination. While no formal investigation took place, Mr. Albetta initiated an illegal investigation enlisting colleagues to find false evidence to condemn Mr. Decruz. These colleagues had no authority to act in this fashion. The investigation which was never sanctioned led nowhere. Mr. Decruz again begged Servia Silva to interact and file claims for harassment and breach of protocol but again she did nothing. There was a student protest a week later because 2 students were suspended for starting a petition to save Mr. Decruz’s job because they felt Mr. Decruz’s job was in jeopardy after he was publicly harassed by Mr. Albetta. There is documentation that proves Mr. Decruz was harassed by Mr. Albetta but Principal Jimenez refused to accept it as evidence and instead suspended the students who started the petition in an effort to protect Mr. Albetta. In the aftermath of the in-school protest the administration tried to lay the blame squarely on Mr. Decruz who took no part in the protest and had no foreknowledge of the event. In fact, when Mr. Decruz was summoned to the main lobby during the protest he made every effort to stop the protest and send students back to class before Servia Silva dragged him away by his arm and forbid him to intervene any further. He was threatened with arrest by the Principal. However, he was no arrested. Instead Principal Jimenez asked Mr. Decruz to quell the rumors that he was going to be fired. Mr. Decruz obliged willingly and stated on record he was embarrassed by the event and did not condone it whatsoever. In the following days Mr. Decruz addressed the issue with the students and no more protests occurred although the students were still furious at the administration because Mr. Albetta used his I-phone to illegaly take pictures of students and physically assaulted a fifteen year old African-American student during the protest. Mr. Albetta was never investigated for his behavior during the protest.
Many school leaders believe Mr. Decruz was denied tenure and was forced to resign at the behest of Mr. Albetta who has incredibly strong political power and influence over Principal Jimenez. Thus, Mr. Jimenez decided to oust Mr. Decruz rather than anger Mr. Albetta who is aware of the illegal activity Principal Jimenez was or is currently engaged in. Principal Jimenez then tried to placate Mr. Decruz by vowing to find a job in another school. Mr. Decruz agreed to go on interviews but none of the job prospects came to fruition. By the time Mr. Decruz’s resignation took effect, he was unemployed and remains as such to this day.  In later posts I will reveal the correspondences regarding Mr. Albetta’s transgressions and illegal behavior.

Here is the conversation dialogue between Mr. Decruz and Principal Jimenez on June 27th , 2012 8:05am

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Principal Jimenez: What are you doing here?

Mr. Decruz: Rosie gave me a homeroom to cover.

Principal Jimenez: Who?

Mr. Decruz: Rosie said there were teacher’s out so she gave me a homeroom.

Principal Jimenez: Ahhh No C’mon. You’re not going to the interview?

Mr. Decruz: I, They Ca…*Interrupted*

Principal Jimenez: ARE YOUR CRAZY? This job you had this job… WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING HERE? ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY? I-I got you a job today.

Mr. Decruz: They called me yesterday…

Principal Jimenez: Norman Thomas? Cause I have three schools…three schools.

Mr. Decruz: No, one of them called me and said to come in at 5:30pm.

Principal Jimenez: There’s one at 5, in in in uh Lincoln, whatever…Norman Thomas this morning, and the other one.

Mr. Decruz: But you…

Principal Jimenez: And you’re just blowing this guy off!

Mr. Decruz: I didn’t blow anybody off…

Principal Jimenez: I got you the interview today at 9:30 in the morning.

Mr. Decruz: I never got a release form.

Principal Jimenez: WHAT?

Mr. Decruz: Denise never gave me the release form to go.

Principal Jimenez: WHERE IS “DAVID PLEASE HELP ME I’M GOING TO BE UNEMPLOYED SOON.” When you’re unemployed you’re going to be blaming me. Cause I know you. You don’t reflect. “David, They didn’t help me, they made me resign.” I’m getting you a job, you don’t go. Last year you didn’t go. This year you’re not going. C’MON, WHAT COULD I DO FOR YOU? DO I HAVE TO CARRY YOU? AND TAKE YOU? HERE, AND OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND ANSWER THE QUESTIONS? C’MON.

Mr. Decruz: Why are you acting like this?

Principal Jimenez: Because I’m very upset at you. I’m very upset because you’re not helping yourself? Why are you doing here? Why are you after these students? Leave them the FUCK alone. GO LIVE YOUR LIFE. They’re not going to remember you in a year.

Mr. Decruz: What are you talking about?

Principal Jimenez: Ya’know, you’re here because you want to be with the students.

Mr. Decruz: That’s not true.

Principal Jimenez: LET IT GO. LET IT GO. You know what? Students have to let their teachers go, it’s not all about their teachers and this whole high school thing and with students…

Mr. Decruz: Why are you so upset?

Principal Jimenez: Because I got you a job and you’re blowing it off. And then you know what you’re going to do, you’re going to blame me.

Mr. Decruz: I’m not going to blame you.

Principal Jimenez: You just blew a job off.

Mr. Decruz: No, I didn’t blow a job off!

Principal Jimenez: I got you a job..an interview at 9:30 this morning.

Mr. Decruz: You told me to go at 9:30 and I said…

Principal Jimenez: Ya’know I’m cashing in favors…

Mr. Decruz: I said if you gave me a release I’d go. Denise never gave me any paperwork to go.

Principal Jimenez: HELLOOOOO…

Mr. Decruz: I am required to report here if this is my last day at this job.

Principal Jimenez: OK, and then how come you didn’t call me, “David, no one gave me a release, HELP ME” You don’t even pick up my calls. You don’t wanna go.

Mr. Decruz: That’s not true.

Principal Jimenez: You don’t wanna get hired.

Mr. Decruz: So what do you want me to do? Do you want me to leave now?

Principal Jimenez: You should have gone already, I don’t even know if he’s gonna take you now. What time is it? It’s 8-8…., you could probably get there on time. I scheduled it at 9:30. C’mon, you need to save yourself.

Mr. Decruz: Why are you acting like this though?

Principal Jimenez: Because I got you a job last year in an excellent school and you let it go cause you wanna be “NO I LOOVE MY STUDENTS.” These are not-these people are not your family brother, they come and go. And they don’t even remember you.

Mr. Decruz: Why are you screaming at me? I don’t understand.

Principal Jimenez: Because I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

Mr. Decruz: There’s nothing wrong with me.

Principal Jimenez: Why,Why are you holding on to this?

Mr. Decruz: I have an interview, they called me yesterday…they called me yesterday..

Principal Jimenez: Look, there’s a change in that one. And I’m actually pissed at that guy. That’s the one that has changed. One thing; did you say to him I could only be with you 5 minutes?

Mr. Decruz: Noo.

Principal Jimenez: Who did you say that to?

Mr. Decruz: I didn’t tell him I could only be there for 5 minutes. I said I have a graduation ceremony to go to at 6. I said I’ll go at 5, I’ll do my interview.

Principal Jimenez: You still told him that.

Mr. Decruz: Yes. I agreed to go to the interview. I thought that was the school you were talking about.

Principal Jimenez: Ok. This is what the guy told me. I spoke to him. He seems he’s more concerned about being at graduation than getting my job. I want somebody that is gonna be Gun-ho about this. David I can already tell you, I’m disappointed. I’m telling you what he told me. He said…He said…that the guy, when he spoke to you, you mentioned something you that had immediately; you don’t go to somebody who’s giving you an interview, giving you a  job, and say I have to go, I have a graduation. The guy’s like; “What’s wrong with this guy?” He actually called me last night and said “what’s wrong this guy that you, you know the guy seemed like he was more interested in going to grad…than sitting with me, chatting with me, I wanted to spend time with him. Show him” and he got the impression like, you were just more concerned about being with some kids.

Mr. Decruz: That’s not what I said to him. I said…I have other..

*Bell Rings*

Principal Jimenez: I don’t know you gave him…And that’s what I see you in the corner with the kids. LET IT GOOOOOOO. CMON, MOVE ON! DON”T HURT YOURSELF! DON’T HURT YOUR CAREER!

Mr. Decruz: I setup the interviews.

Principal Jimenez: You put too much into this. You think these kids are going to remember you? They Wooon’t. They’re easily influenced.

Mr. Decruz: Who said that? Who said that? I didn’t say that.

Principal Jimenez: Ya’know. Save yourself. I’m trying to help you. But if you can’t…

Mr. Decruz: I don’t understand why you’re so upset with me.

Principal Jimenez: Because I got these..These, these, are real, these people I spoke to…and I made you out to be the number one thing in the world.

Mr. Decruz: How do I know that?

Principal Jimenez: I told you, I have influence. Do you know how many years I’ve been in the system? I’ve done a lot of favors. I know the game.

Principal Jimenez: When you know I’m sending you somewhere specifically…

Mr. Decruz: Just for an interview?

Principal Jimenez: Because 90% of the jobs you had. Forget the 5 o’clock one. Because you know what, quite frankly, it’s just gonna be, at this point, he has such a bad impression, Because you know what, You didn’t know about the job loss he was gonna time comp you…C’mon I’m gonna find someone else…

*Students Enter*

*Principal Jimenez grabs Mr. Decruz by the arm out of the room and continues to say “Let it Go” as students greet Mr. Decruz. Mr. Decruz is escorted out by his arm to the principal’s office*

Principal Jimenez continues to ramble on about cashing in favors. Mr. Decruz says if the interviewer didn’t like him over the phone he wouldn’t like him as an employee anyway.

Principal Jimenez requests a release form from AP of Organization, Denise Winchester.

Mr. Decruz: If Denise would have gave me the release form we wouldn’t have this issue today.

Principal Jimenez continues to ramble on about how Mr. Decruz blows all his job prospects. Then goes on to commend Mr. Decruz on what a good dean and teacher he is.

Mr. Decruz was then forced to go to a job interview at Norman Thomas High School. (a school that is scheduled to be closed within two years). He remains unemployed today.

After examining the dialogue above you will notice the Principal Jimenez using profanity and berating Mr. Decruz for not going to a job interview when Mr. Decruz by law was required to report to his normal job duties at MCSM. Principal Jimenez promised to sign a waiver to release him to attend the interview rather than appear for his normal duties the day before. Since Mr. Decruz received no waiver to leave he chose to report for normal duties as to not violate the UFT contract. For abiding by the laws of the DOE he was cursed at and screamed at.

Also notice Principal Jimenez referring to the educational field as a “system” and a “game”. He goes on to say he has influence and knows the “game”. It is my personal opinion that the field of education is not a system nor a game. It is a serious and important field and people who hold the title of Principal should act with morality, integrity, and dignity. They are role models for the entire learning community they lead. Obviously, Principal Jimenez knows the way he manipulated Mr. Decruz was wrong and illegal which is why he tried to just shuffle him off to a bad closing school to placate Mr. Decruz who was the victim of blackmail, harassment, and workplace bullying.

What’s even sadder is his views about the relationships between teachers and students. Apparently students forget all their teachers and teachers should not care for their students the way Mr. Decruz did. If I were principal I would feel privileged to have a dedicated and competent pedagogue who is integral to the functioning of the school.I suppose Principal Jimenez feels otherwise. After all, in his own words, it’s just a game, don’t care for your students, save your career and be willfully exiled from “my school”. What Principal Jimenez fails to realize is that MCSM isn’t his school. It was there before him and it will be there after him. The sooner the better.

Lastly, you can plainly see that Principal Jimenez’s primary concern was that Mr. Decruz does not “blame him” for being unemployed. This begs the question: WHO SHOULD HE BLAME? Himself? His Supervisor? The Superintendent? The Mayor? His Colleagues?
The simplest answers in life are usually the right ones. Mr. Decruz has no one to blame for being unemployed but Principal Jimenez. After all, it was the principal who tried to force him to transfer years prior (never did he mention why), it was the principal and Mr. Albetta who decided to not grant Mr. Decruz tenure (which he rightfully deserved based on the new teacher tenure framework; afterall he did chair that committee just one year prior to his own tenure date!) it was the principal who unjustly entered an annual U-rating into the DOE system. Finally, it was Principal Jimenez who blackmailed him into resigning and failed to give him adequate recommendations to prospective principals who seriously considered hiring Mr. Decruz.

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As a basketball coach Mr. Decruz won the Manhattan Division Girl’s Junior Varsity Championship for 3 consecutive years with outstanding efforts of the players he had the honor to coach.

He was regarded as one of the best gym teachers in the school. Most of the 19 satisfactory formal lessons he performed were regarded as innovative and effective. One report even mentioned that [other members of our physical education department should utilize many of the aspects of your teaching style]

Throughout his 3 and a half year employment at MCSM he was a victim of harassment, workplace bullying, and a target for removal because Mr. Albetta resented Mr. Decruz because Mr. Decruz was professional and popular with teachers and students alike. Despite all these distractions and stressors Mr. Decruz thrived under all the unnecessary pressures placed upon him. He often arrived at school at 7am to practice (after losing sleep to the stress), taught a full day and stayed late to help clear hallways.

After he was blackmailed he went on countless interviews but was unable to secure a position. Sources inside and outside of the school claim they have knowledge that Principal Jimenez and Mr. Albetta have given poor recommendations on behalf of Mr. Decruz. It seems that taking his job was not satisfying enough for these jealous bureaucrats. They had to go a step further and ruin the life of a man who only tried to be the best at what he was asked to do. I read stories nearly everyday in the news that are similar to the story of Mr. Decruz. The political dark side of educational politics in the city rob students of their favorite teachers, and ruin the lives of dedicated educators. It seems that Mr. Albetta and Principal Jimenez got rid of one teacher while the MCSM school community lost a truly excellent teacher, coach, mentor, and valuable asset to the students educators are sworn to serve. It is unfortunate that administrators lose sight of what their jobs are and let personal vendettas cloud their judgement. As civil servants we exist to serve students; not ingratiate ourselves in the pleasure derived from tormenting and bullying those they perceive as threats to their positions.

While the school’s administration took away Mr. Decruz’s employment they cannot take away his accomplishments and the positive impact he had on the school. And contrary to what Principal Jimenez believes I highly doubt Mr. Decruz’s students will ever forget him. And he will never forget them. They were his passion and his life. Despite the bureaucratic horror he endured, the smiles on the students faces and making them successful was all he could ever ask for in his short career as a teacher in the DOE.

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In the second picture above, the students of MCSM threw a surprise birthday for Coach Decruz. Mr. Albetta and Mr. Hernandez came in and forced all the students to leave the room. They did not even wish Mr. Decruz a Happy Birthday. Are these rude and tyrannical individuals the type of leaders we want running our schools?

Mr. Daniel Albetta

Assistant Principal of Security, Physical Education & Health, Social Studies, and Athletic Director

Albetta

  1. He is suspected of cheating on his wife with a subordinate in the school.
  2. He is suspected of Arson.
  3. He is suspected of conspiracy, lying, fraud, file tampering, workplace bullying, harassment and employee manipulation as well as misappropriating PSAL funds.
  4. He is also suspected of physically assaulting a student during a protest. He is also guilty of locking a female student in a room with three other male employees for over four hours without informing the students’ parents. He threatened her and forced her to give up her Facebook password in an attempt to spy on her. He is also guilty of posing as a student on Facebook and interacting with students which violates the chancellor’s regulations.
  5. He has been investigated several times but remains in his position because he has friends in high places.
  6. He is a known bigot, racist, and Anti-Semitic.
  7. He has admitted to using cocaine and other illegal drugs.
  8. Mr. Albetta and Principal Jimenez are guilty of conspiring to dismantle the UFT chapter at MCSM.
  9. He played a major role in the removal of AP Felicia Bray. The Principal had already given Ms. Bray verbal consent to make a purchase for the boy’s varsity baseball team  in front of the baseball coach. Ms. Bray went forward with the order. When the bill arrived Principal Jimenez reprimanded Ms. Bray for misappropriating school funds claiming he never authorized the order (which he did). Mr. Albetta, the newly appointed Athletic Director lied about this purchase order to support Principal’s Jimenez’s premeditated agenda to remove Ms. Bray. Shortly after Ms. Bray was removed, Mr. Albetta was appointed to Assistant Principal. Mr. Albetta is guilty of trying to coerce the baseball coach to lie about the true nature of the event to protect himself and the principal. Ms. Bray’s legal case is still pending.
  10. He is guilty of forcing teachers out of the school using phony accusations to make vacancies available to his friends thereby circumventing the DOE human resource protocols.
  11. He is guilty of failing to abide by teacher’s requests for pre-conferences for all formal observations.
  12. As AP of security he is guilty of failing to report major crimes and incidents to make the school appear to be safer than it actually is.
  13. He obstructed justice by failing to provide the police with pertinent information regarding a case of mass grand larceny in the girl’s locker-rooms in 2011.
  14. He is guilty of allowing an illegal search and seizure of a female student where no female school representative was available.
  15. He is guilty of using the school’s surveillance cameras to monitor teachers’ social activities.
  16. As an administrator he is required to teach 2 lessons a day. Instead of teaching these lessons he simply added his name to a substitute teacher’s attendance sheets to make it appear that he was fulfilling this requirement. There is evidence of these false attendance sheets on record as well.
  17. He illegally removed Mr. Decruz from his coaching position despite Mr. Decruz claiming retention rights for that position. He fired Mr. Decruz via email and without providing justification for the removal. The retention right form is documented with the DOE.
  18. He admitted to using cocaine on a regular basis.
  19. He is the instructional leader of a department he has no content specialty in.
  20. He is also guilty of harassing and intimidating employees who oppose him. He is also under investigation.

Is this the type of person who should be a school leader? His actions and practices are those of a bureaucratic criminal who should be brought to justice. The MCSM school community stands united in this matter. However, Principal Jimenez continues to protect this criminal.

What we all want to know is WHY?

What does Mr. Albetta have over Principal Jimenez?

As if all this weren’t enough, Principal Jimenez is still under investigation for sexually harassing Ms. Bray and committing sexual misconduct against other employees as well. The truth will be known one day. Unfortunately, so much damage has already been done. The school is declining rapidly in academics, athletics and other key areas. These two men and a few other minions of theirs’ are behind it all.

Enough is enough. Seek the truth. Seek justice for our students. They deserve better, much better.