Officially known as “reassignment centers,” the New York City Department of Education sticks teachers accused of misconduct into “rubber rooms,” where they wait, paid and with no responsibility other than to show up, until their cases are resolved. This particular bureaucratic nightmare has been the subject of countless reports, including an extensive examination in The New Yorker, and an entire documentary featured on This American Life. But today’s New York Post features one particularly maddening story: Roland Pierre, 75, makes $97,101 a year. Rubber rooms used to be the problem of Joel Klein, the city’s schools chancellor, but there’s a new woman in charge. Let’s hope she read today’s paper.
Pierre was “permanently removed from the classroom” for allegedly inviting a sixth-grade girl into an empty classroom at PS 138 and molesting her. That was in 1997. Thirteen years later, the charges have been dropped and “a DOE disciplinary case was ‘dropped on a technicality.'” But despite the shady details of the criminal case, the real crime is in dollars and cents:
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.
Plus benefits like health care and vacation. For not teaching.
Pierre refused to identify himself or comment to the Post, who in turn decided to focus more on the 13-year-old molestation charge — including details of a “bear hug” and kisses with tongue — with little revealed about Pierre’s day-to-day life in the rubber room. But the bottom line is plenty: around $100k of the city’s cash? Paging Ms. Black!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 26, 2010