King of the NYC “rubber rooms”

What do you do with tenured teachers who are unfit (or downright dangerous) for the classroom? Well in cases where there’s strong union protection, you assign them to what’s euphemistically-called a “rubber room” (more here and here) where they spend 7 hours a day watching TV, reading the paper, and fighting amongst themselves. Of course, they’re still collecting full pay and benefits. In NYC, these rubber rooms cost the city over $65M a year and some teachers have spent years there. This story profiles the King of the NYC rubber rooms.

At age 75, Roland Pierre is the granddaddy of the rubber room — 13 years in the purgatory of teachers yanked from the classroom for alleged wrongdoing.

But the Department of Education can’t fire Pierre, and he’s stuck around long past the minimum retirement age.

Pierre was permanently removed from the classroom in 1997 after he was accused of sexually molesting a sixth-grade girl at PS 138 in Brooklyn.

But since then, Pierre has continued to receive full pay and fringe benefits, including health, pension and vacation, officials said. He pulls down $97,101 a year.

He’s one of six tenured teachers that Chancellor Joel Klein has refused to return to the classroom, even though any criminal charges were dropped and DOE hearing officers let them off the hook.

Pierre has been “permanently reassigned” the longest of all.

On June 26, 1997, Pierre, then 62, was arrested on felony sex-abuse charges after he allegedly called one of his students into an empty classroom where he taught English as a second language, closed the door and molested her.

Officials would not explain what happened since, but sources said the criminal charges were apparently dismissed, and a DOE disciplinary case was “dropped on a technicality.”

Even if dropped, the arrest and disciplinary case would almost certainly prevent Pierre from ever getting another teaching job, said lawyer Joy Hochstadt, who has represented other teachers.

“Every application asks, ‘Have you ever been brought up on charges?’ ” she said.

The DOE has no required retirement age. Hired in 1986, Pierre could have retired at age 62. At his age, he can collect Social Security as well as his full salary, so his income may be close to $125,000 a year, sources said.

Pierre, reached yesterday at his Wyandanch, LI, home, refused to identify himself or comment.

Ah, those wonderful teachers unions…


One Response to “King of the NYC “rubber rooms””

  1. Ah yes !! … ANY union nowadays !!! … Throw the government into the mix and can hear the tax toilet flushin’ continually !!! … That’s absurd that he should continue to be paid in the first place ! … But to double dip and get his social security as well is obscene !!! …

    BTW Mook … Congrats !!! You hit the milestone of the 300th comment on my blog ! ( Not too busy here , I know … But it’s pickin’ up … )

    Check out the new header … Felt like a fresh change for the new year …

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