I’m not much of a movie buff but I do have my favorites. Fast Times at Ridgemont High is one of them. Although considered risque for its time due to its portrayal of teenage sex and drug use (not to mention the bare-chested Phoebe Cates scene), it is pretty tame by today’s standards.
My favorite character is Mr. Hand the history teacher, played by Ray Walston. He runs a tight ship.
Imagine if Mr. Hand was teaching in Bloomberg’s DOE.
He is too much of a veteran and too overpaid. His principal, who is half his age with 3 years of teaching experience, needs to trump up some bogus charges in order to terminate his license.
How many things can you twist out of context in order to terminate Mr. Hand?
1) Locked his classroom doors, fire hazard.
2) Grabbed hat off student’s head, assault.
3) Snatched cigarette out of student’s mouth, assault.
4) Took candy bar from student’s hand, assault.
5) Hovered over young girl’s desk and talked about coming to her house, sexual harassment.
6) Sarcastic towards Sean Penn by saying “I get so lonely when all my students aren’t here.”, verbal abuse.
7) Ripped up Sean Penn’s schedule in order to cause him mental anguish.
8) Revealed students’ test grades in front of class, causing them all mental anguish.
9) Mistakenly said that Platt Amendment was an amendment to “our constitution” when, in fact, it was an amendment to Cuba’s constitution, incompetence. (We know the DOE strives for accuracy in teaching).
10) Lectured class about truancy, verbal abuse.
11) Menacingly waves his finger at Sean Penn saying “food will be eaten on your time.”, assault.
12) Wrote “I don’t know” on the board in order to cause Sean Penn mental anguish.
13) Said Spain had a “disorganized Parliament”, racist speech.
14) Oh my God, did he say “what in the hell is going on here?”
15) Took Sean Penn’s pizza, unlawful confiscation.
16) Encouraged students to eat pizza, promoting bad health. (We know Bloomberg is serious about our health.)
Mr. Hand was called into a meeting with the principal and his chapter leader regarding certain accusations. These accusations were never specified but, for the good of the students, he was reassigned to Tweed pending investigation by OSI.
After Mr. Hand left the office, the principal immediately got on the phone to “legal” and said he wanted Mr. Hand terminated. Legal then coached him in exactly how to write up the accusations to make them sound as horrible as possible.
Both the principal and OSI wrote reports alleging that Mr. Hand “physically and verbally assaulted several students”, “had inappropriate sexual contact with a teenaged girl”, “locked his students in a classroom creating a safety hazard”, “partook in hate speech” and “demonstrated gross incompetence”.
He is awaiting a 3020a hearing that will drag on for several months and years in the hopes that he will just quit. The arbitrator assigned to the case knows that the principal wants him terminated, so he will do his best to oblige.
Meanwhile, the NY Post is set to run a headline tomorrow morning “Worst Teacher in the City”, with a huge picture of Mr. Hand. The tagline will read “racist pedophile harasser collects salary while on suspension.”
The internet version of the story will have 50 comments underneath from readers bemoaning “tenure”, “lazy teachers” and “pedophiles”. There will be lots of righteous outrage, like “why does he still get to collect his big fat salary?!” and “I have to produce in order to keep my job, why do teachers get to have tenure?!”
There are hundreds if not thousands of teachers in Mr. Hand’s position all over the city.