Chancellor Walcott has already said in the DOE’s social media policy that teachers should have no “expectation of privacy” online. This includes our Facebook pages and our blogs. The principal’s union tepidly protested by saying it is unfair to administrators to make them police the online actions of teachers.
With the cases of Christine Rubino and Patricia Dawson, we have seen teachers destroyed for what they have said on the internet. There might come a day, not too far off, when I will be targeted as well.
I already know this blog is being watched. It has been banned on the DOE’s server, most likely for my early articles in support of Occupy Wall Street. Then there was the time that the police showed up to a public, open-air discussion that I had promoted on this blog.
Sometimes, when I am looking at my site stats, I wonder who is out there just reading in an attempt to find something, anything, that could incriminate me.
Yes, I am paranoid. After the horror stories I have heard of and witnessed, you would be as well.
It is funny, since I try my best to not personalize this blog in any way. My topics are generally universal. I do not reveal anything about the politics at my school or who I have problems with. That is not what I want this blog to be.
Yet, I know that people are watching me, people even more paranoid than me.
Look at what happened to Francesco Portelos. In many ways, he runs my alter-blog. He has been fearless in naming names in an attempt to hold his administration and union rep accountable. He was recently reassigned due to an investigation, an investigation that we all knew was coming at some point.
There is a petition in support of Mr. Portelos that you can sign via the NYC Rubber Room Reporter.
And yet, the people that know me best have advised me to watch my back. They see the handwriting on the wall that the boys in the trench coats are coming for me next. They too know I am being watched and they fear for my career.
I know there is no free speech anymore. The DOE, as well as employers in general, want to make it so their workers cannot be critical in any way of the rotten system to which they bear witness on a daily basis.
All I can say is that this blog has never been about me. It has been about making universal observations about the DOE, education, politics and social class. All I have done on this little internet space is exercise my First Amendment right to discuss issues of public moment.
But, then again, so does Mr. Portelos.
We are both radicals in our own way. The DOE would love nothing more than to make examples out of radicals.
So, keep your eyes peeled for news as to when, where and why I am being reassigned. To those shadowy figure who have been keeping an eye on me: I hope you find what you are looking for. It must be nice to have a job where you can spend time reading the harmless words of regular people. I just hope it is all worth it for you in the end.
This one is dedicated to you: