Friday, January 17, 2020

Please Affirm You Will NOT Be Drunk and on Drugs During the Field Trip

 The ghost of Michael Bloomberg is a heavy presence in the hallowed halls of Tweed. He lives on in DOE Legal, often as not the bane of my very existence. Wanna give some teacher five preps? Go ahead, says legal. Wanna tie your chapter leader up for years in grievances over black letter regulations? No problem. Legal okays it on the spot.
This week, a lot of members have come up to me and asked about a new brand spanking new field trip form, one in which you are required to say you've read Chancellor's Regulation A-670, which is right here, and that you agree not to be drunk and on drugs during said field trip. At first I thought it was something the principal had invented, but it turns out this is yet another innovation of DOE Legal. Since DOE Legal is essentially a clown car, its most recent creation is absurd on multiple levels.
Personally, I'd assume you'd simply know not to be drunk and on drugs when on a field trip and supervising children. It's common sense. In Spanish, though, they say common sense is the least common of all the senses. It's certainly not something I expect from Bloomberg's remaining minions.
Predictably, DOE Legal, in its infinite wisdom, has determined you are such a hopeless galoot you need to be specifically reminded and sign an agreement. Now here's the thing--whether or not you sign this form, you are always responsible to follow Chancellor/s Regulations, and you are always liable for your behavior when supervising children.
By the logic of this signed form, a teacher could do violence to a child and say, "I'm sorry. I didn't read Chancellor's Regulation A-420 so I didn't know we weren't allowed to do violence to children."  Another teacher could call a student by the most vile epithets and say, "Gee, I didn't know verbal abuse was prohibited, because I never read Chancellor's Regulation A-421."
Few principals will ask you whether or not you read the Chancellor's Regs before placing letters in your file, or bringing you up on charges for having violated them. The form is entirely redundant and I have brought it to the attention of UFT. However, I'm taking a bunch of kids to see The Lion King on March 4th, and I will sign the stupid paper rather than deprive my students of their first and perhaps only experience with Broadway theater. I will not be any more or less liable for having done so, and neither will you. It's just another waste of time, an exercise of power by idiots to show just how little they respect you. Perhaps they feel you are innately as vindictive and unreasonable as they are. (Of course if you were, why would you be a teacher?)
Ask yourself this--if you were the sort of person inclined to be drunk and on drugs on a field trip, would signing that form dissuade you? Will that kind of person perhaps think, "Well, I've signed something that says I can't be drunk and on drugs on the field trip, but no one's asked me to sign any such thing or make any such promise when I'm teaching."
Maybe that will be the person who comes to class drunk and on drugs. And if anyone is indeed that stupid, their stupidity pales in comparison with that of DOE Legal, which created this utterly superfluous nonsense in the first place. 
blog comments powered by Disqus