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Providence (RI) Schools Bow To Radical Mob, Remove Whistleblower Ramona Bessinger From Teaching Position

Providence (RI) Schools Bow To Radical Mob, Remove Whistleblower Ramona Bessinger From Teaching Position

Bessinger blew the whistle on CRT in the classrooms and has been subject to continuous retaliation. Just days after filing a police report after a student protest leader allegedly threatened to kill her, Bessinger without any notice was “removed” from her teaching position, put on involuntary administrative leave pending an “internal investigation” – but she doesn’t know and hasn’t been told what the investigation is about.

The Ramona Bessinger story is beginning to remind me of the Gibson’s Bakery story.

A massive bullying educational institution capitulating to and becoming part of a student and administrative mob trying to destroy a career over claimed (but not real) racial sleights, resulting in a defamation lawsuit. Then it was Oberlin College, now it’s the Providence School District. Then it was David and “Grandpa” Gibson, now it’s Ramona Bessinger.

The Gibson’s Bakery case ended up with an unapologetic institution owing tens of millions of dollars and capturing the ire of the nation. There was no adult in the room at Oberlin College when it came to Gibson’s Bakery. There doesn’t appear to be an adult in the room at the Providence Schools when it comes to Ramona Bessinger. Providence Schools appear to be acting stupidly.

We covered the Gibson’s Bakery case since the inception of the student protests, through the legal wrangling, through the verdicts, appeals, and finally payments. It took almost six years in total. My gut tells me it’s deja vu all over again, but we’re in the early innings.

We have covered Bessinger’s story from inception. In July 2021, then a middle school teacher, Bessinger blew the whistle at Legal Insurrection on a new radicalized and racialized curriculum that was creating racial tension in school, including turning students and staff against her because she is white:

I have been a public school teacher for the past 22 years, with the past seven in Providence, Rhode Island.  I have had the honor of serving public school children and their families as an English teacher first at the high school level, and currently at the middle school level.

During my career I have always tried to provide the best education for my students. I am designated by the Rhode Island Department of Education a ‘Highly Qualified’ teacher, meaning, I have tenure and experience in my certifications.  I was awarded the English Speaking Union Shakespeare Scholarship for excellence in teaching Shakespeare. I helped implement curriculum and I have hosted multiple student clubs, literary magazines, youth groups and community outreach programs.

I love being a teacher and I care a great deal about my students, almost all of whom are non-white.  This past 2020/21 school year was a sad and worrisome turning point for me as an educator. Providence K-8 teachers were introduced to one of the most racially divisive, hateful, and in large part, historically inaccurate curriculums I have ever seen in my teaching career.

Yes, I am speaking about the controversial critical race theory that has infiltrated our public schools here in Rhode Island under the umbrella of Cuturally Responsive learning and teaching, which includes a focus on identities. You won’t see the words “critical race theory” on the materials, but those are the concepts taught. The new, racialized curriculum and materials focuses almost exclusively on an oppressor-oppressed narrative, and have created racial tensions among students and staff where none existed before….

We did not need a new curriculum for students to learn about slavery and racism. We already did that, in great depth, relying in part on the writings of great African-American authors….

What saddened me most was that I would not be teaching the Holocaust any longer. The Holocaust unit included one of the following: either Anne FrankThe Boy In The Striped Pajamas, and depending on reading level, Elie Weisel’s Night When I asked the school reading coach where all the Holocaust books were, she said “we do not teach the Holocaust because kids can’t relate to the story.” …

Teachers were encouraged to participate in “white educator affinity groups” where we would be given essays on how not to be a white supremacist in the classroom.

This was a system-wide directive to separate white and non-white teachers for training….

Finally, for some students, standing for The Pledge of Allegiance was no longer something they did.  We are not allowed to question why, and the truth is, I knew why.  Already these young people were beginning to hate America. I was the only person standing and the only person that could be heard saying “liberty and justice for all”.

Midway through the academic year, some students started calling me “America” because I was white. These students, whom I love, were turning against me because of my skin color. I don’t blame them, I blame the racial narratives being forced upon them in school….

Bessinger received national and international media attention:

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board called it Education Horror Show, Continued:

Bad teachers are rarely held accountable, but the public school bureaucracy seems to be less tolerant of teachers who transgress against the Democratic-union establishment. Behold how one middle-school English teacher in Providence, Rhode Island, is being run out after publicly criticizing critical race theory.

The Providence Public School District hauled in Ramona Bessinger on Wednesday for a “pre-disciplinary administrative” hearing because she allegedly let students leave her classroom during a school lockdown related to a fight between a student and staff member. Ms. Bessinger, who has taught for 22 years, denies the charge.

Her real offense is chronicling the alarming effects of critical race theory on students and teachers….

The harassment by fellow teachers and administrative officials increased this year after some media outlets highlighted her story. Last month a union representative at a faculty meeting said teachers were circulating a petition against her. On Oct. 3 she filed an internal complaint about retaliation and a hostile working environment.

The district subsequently issued her a notice alleging that she violated protocols during a school lockdown and calling for a hearing….

The district would be unlikely to win a disciplinary case against Ms. Bessinger for opining online about critical race theory because the Supreme Court in Pickering v. Board of Education (1968) held that the First Amendment protects teachers from retaliation for speaking on matters of public concern. Hence, the district needed a pretext to target her….

After that publicity, Bessinger suffered retaliation, including physical intimidation. Rather than stand up for Bessinger’s rights, Providence Schools involuntary transferred her from middle school to Classical High School, where she sat in a windowless basement for almost a year before finally getting a classroom teaching position after filing a formal grievance. Providence Schools was unwilling to prove its case at a grievance hearing, so it agreed to reinstate Bessinger to a classroom position not long before the hearing was to take place. Bessinger was represented by a union lawyer and also by James Peterson, Esq., of Judicial Watch.

Being back in the classroom, Bessinger declared victory, believing her ordeal finally was over and she could get back to doing what she loved and had been doing for over 20 years, teaching:

I have received notification that coming this fall, I will have a permanent classroom assignment at Classical High. I have been freed from the basement. I’ll be back in the classroom this September sharing literature about the Holocaust, American authors with universal messages to share, historical references and literature that reflects the greatness of America in all her flaws and perfection.  I’ll teach universal themes that all children can relate to, my classroom will have characters and poetry free of harmful political activism and full of accuracy.  I hope to instill critical thinking, freedom of thought, rigorous activities that promote lively discussion unprompted by curriculum materials filled with propaganda.

It would have been so easy to throw in the towel and step out into the fresh air and sunlight, and leave all that nonsense behind for good. But I persevered with a great deal more that lies ahead.

Now, I can continue to teach children the truth about this great nation and perhaps contribute to the restoration of a politically neutral zone for all children K-12.

Hope was given a chance.

The Wall Street Journal noted on July 25, 2022, A Teacher Triumphs Over the Woke Educational Establishment:

At last some good news from U.S. public education, thanks to one tough teacher who refused to accept the poisonous ideology now enforced in so many classrooms. Regular readers of this column will be especially cheered to read the latest dispatch from Ramona Bessinger via the Legal Insurrection website….

Ms. Bessinger’s victory brings even more—the hope that more teachers will go from quiet anguish to open defiance of a false and destructive rendering of U.S. history.

But it’s never really over, is it? Not when you are deemed a heretic to the identity politics that has captured education at every level. Not when activist student feelings are weaponized by adults. Not when the ultra-radical Rhode Island activist community is howling for you to be fired.

And so, just about a month after resuming her classroom teaching, the mob was after Bessinger again. We chronicled how in Whistleblower Providence (RI) Teacher Ramona Bessinger Under Attack Again, Teachers Helping Organize Student Protest Against Her:

We have just learned that Bessinger’s problems are not over. Some students at Classical are organizing a walk-out and protest against her, aided she has learned by teachers at Classical and her former middle school. Bessinger has provided the names of those teachers to her principal and other administrators and teachers union officials, asking whether it was appropriate for teachers to be organizing students against another teacher.

Ominously, the protest was organized in a threatening fashion:

More worrisome to Bessinger is that the student group has posted on social media instructions for students to cover their faces so they cannot be identified, and has increased the rhetoric against her that increases the possible physical danger to her.

Bessinger provided the following statement:

“It appears my students are being lead by activist mob teachers who tell them I am racist and transphobic. Of course nothing of the sort is true. I care deeply for all my students, and respect their individual rights, and beliefs. This is a targeted attack by the crazy 10 % woke mob that influence children using fear and bullying techniques.”

The protest took place with about 40-50 students in attendance according to a person I spoke with who was there, confirmed by the photos of the event. A left-wing website called “UpriseRI” published photos of the students at the protest and the name of a student who wrote a post for the website attacking Bessinger, and claimed “over 130” students joined the walk out.

We covered the protest in our post, Judicial Watch Demands Providence (RI) Schools Cease and Desist “Retaliation and Harassment” Of Ramona Bessinger:

It seems clear there is a coordinated effort to force Bessinger out, and that is being amplified and encouraged by a collective of radical groups:

Then things went from worse, to even more worse. Bessinger was Threatened At School By Student Protest Leader:

The “progressive” community is working itself, and students, into a frenzy on social media encouraging and amplifying the efforts to get Bessinger fired. Accusations Bessinger says are  false are spread on websites and Twitter.

[see post link for multiple screenshots]

***

Bessinger has previously notified the school administration of her concerns for her physical safety. This morning the situation worsened dramatically.

Bessinger says she was walking down a hallway-type area not far from her classroom when she heard shouting at her. It was not until she was closer, only about 10 feet away from a group of students, that she heard one of the student leaders of the protests screaming at her in front of other students that he would kill her: “Fuck you, fuck you. I want to kill you.” He may have screamed other things as well before she realized he was screaming at her.

No other students were screaming at her. Bessinger says she had previously complained to the school about this student hanging around outside her classroom.

She has reported the incident to the school as well as filing a police report….

We have obtained the first police report of the October 4, 2022, incident (there apparently also is a second report with more details, which we will attempt to obtain).

Here is the narrative portion filled out by the Providence Police Officer:

On 10-4-22, at approximately 1230 hours, SRO Reed responded to the Main Office of Classical High School located at 770 Westminster Street for a report of student threatening a teacher. Upon arrival, SRO Reed was met by Assistant Principal Brian Baldazzar who stated a teacher was apparently threatened by student in the hallway.

Baldazzar stated to SRO Reed that the teacher identified as [Redacted] and student [Redacted] were passing through the “tunnel” of the school when allegedly [Redacted]t screamed towards [Redacted]r “Fuck you I’m going to kill you.” Let it be noted, Baldazzar informed SRO Reed there have been issues recently regarding [Redacted] and the school students regarding her political issues. SRO Reed later met with the victim [Redacted] who stated she and [Redacted] earlier in the day passed each other and she observed [Redacted]scream “Fuck you I’m going to kill you.” [Redacted]r stated the incident occurred during the passing of classes and there were other students in the area.

Let it be noted, the incident is currently under investigation and TOT YSB Bureau Detective Ramos.

A Twitter account apparently affiliated with the school “queer and trans students” group Classical Liabilities that helped launch the campaign against Bessinger, posted about the incident, sharing a redacted screenshot that appears to be from the student in question, confirming that the student screamed at Bessinger, although the student made no mention of screaming about killing her.

The admission by the Assistant Principal to the police as recorded in the police report that the dispute was over “her political issues” could come back to haunt the Providence Schools. Bessinger’s “political issues” have resulted in more disciplinary action against her.

In a letter dated October 7 but received by Bessinger today (October 8), the Providence Schools informed Bessinger she was being put on administrative leave with pay, was barred from any interaction with staff, students, or parents, and was under “internal investigation” (emphasis added).

Effective immediately you are hereby placed on Administrative Leave with Pay and removed from duty from your present position of Teacher at Classical High school pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

You are to continue on paid Administrative Leave until further notice. During your leave, you must not enter any District property without advance permission from the Office of Human Resources. Likewise, you are instructed that you must not have any direct or indirect contact with District staff, students, or parents; this includes electronic communication such as email, calling/texting, and social networking sites. Further, you are not permitted to utilize District property, including the District’s server or email service. You must immediately return any District property in your possession, custody, or control, including computers and keys, to the Office of Human Resources.

 

The letter was the first Bessinger heard about being put on administrative leave or that she was under internal investigation. She does not know, and has not been told, what the internal investigation relates to.

I reached out to Providence Schools seeking comment, including as to what the internal investigation regards, but have not received a response as of this writing.

Having won reinstatement after a long legal battle, the Providence Schools are coming back against Bessinger again. It’s never really over until the jury sings, is it?

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Comments

Could FAIR lawyers help her out?

    kyrrat in reply to kyrrat. | October 8, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    Or FIRE?

    Another Voice in reply to kyrrat. | October 9, 2022 at 10:28 pm

    I believe I’ve provided some insight on the legal options of how public schools terminate Teachers. I’ve come late to the game and I posted I believe as # 52 commenter. There is also a reply post on how school districts, more than not, promote Administrators when they feel it’s time to upgrade. As I qualified my posts for having been in a support staff area working with School District Administration for +25 years. Not a lot has changed in 12 years, if anything it’s worse.

It’s not over when the jury sings, the judge rules, the appeals court rules and/or SCOTUS rules, unless the left wins somewhere along the way.

Time to sue BIGLY!

    Milhouse in reply to gonzotx. | October 8, 2022 at 10:49 pm

    For what?

      caseoftheblues in reply to Milhouse. | October 9, 2022 at 6:04 am

      Ah yes…in the world of Milhouse the left can always sue for anything…the right NEVER has cause or standing.

      Zumkopf in reply to Milhouse. | October 9, 2022 at 7:21 pm

      Let’s see. She probably has a contract with the school system, so Tortious Interference with Contract springs to mind. Defamation — the school system is clearly stating she’s a racist by harassing her for allegedly being one. Conspiracy to deprive her of her Constitutional rights — she exercises them, they harass and threaten to terminate her. Failure to provide a safe work environment; they permit disruptive behavior by students and even condone assault against her (a student publicly threatened to kill her and they have taken no action whatsoever against the student). Oh, and RICO: we have (1) conduct, (2) of an enterprise, (3) through a pattern, (4) of racketeering activity, (5) causing injury to the plaintiff’s “business or property” by the conduct constituting the violation. Racketeering Activity includes any “person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” A coordinated school system campaign to Harass the teacher into silence or get her fired for refusing, would certainly fit that offense.

      diver64 in reply to Milhouse. | October 10, 2022 at 5:16 am

      1st Amendment grounds by a government entity? They ordered her not to contact/talk to parents staff or students:
      “Likewise, you are instructed that you must not have any direct or indirect contact with District staff, students, or parents; this includes electronic communication such as email, calling/texting, and social networking sites. ”
      I’m not sure how the school district can order someone not to exercise their freedom of speech especially off of school property on their own time using their own media and equipment.

        artichoke in reply to diver64. | October 10, 2022 at 9:02 am

        Problem is, I think 1st amendment violation would just result in the judge ordering the district to stop it. No personal pain for anyone involved except the victimized teacher.

      artichoke in reply to Milhouse. | October 10, 2022 at 9:00 am

      Reckless endangerment. Constructive dismissal.

The main difference here vs Oberlin is that it is the taxpayer who will pay the fines and penalties and not the school itself. So for the Providence school system, there is “nothing” to lose.

    gonzotx in reply to Pasadena Phil. | October 8, 2022 at 8:26 pm

    But maybe the taxpayers will then demand excellence from their schools instead of crt/ blm crap

      M Poppins in reply to gonzotx. | October 10, 2022 at 3:53 pm

      unfortunately, no, they won’t demand excellence – they don’t know what excellence is. If they did they wouldn’t be sending their children to government schools.

    Unless of course the mayor, or city council, or other public officials get very upset at the idea that they have to pay money and start cleaning house of some dirty principals and activists who cost them money.

    Likely no. Impossible? Absolutely not.

      artichoke in reply to Danny. | October 10, 2022 at 9:06 am

      What do they care? Just raise property taxes, and it would all be done in executive session with the school board and rolled quietly into the next tax levy.

      A good thing about Oberlin is that it’s a private institution and cannot tap taxpayers to enable their abuses. That is unfortunately not true here.

    Milhouse in reply to Pasadena Phil. | October 8, 2022 at 10:51 pm

    What fines and penalties? The big difference from Oberlin is that so far the school district does not seem to have done anything it can be sued for. The only recourse she seems to have, as far as I know, is a grievance procedure under her union rules.

      caseoftheblues in reply to Milhouse. | October 9, 2022 at 6:05 am

      Are you being deliberately obtuse?

        artichoke in reply to caseoftheblues. | October 10, 2022 at 9:08 am

        No, he’s raising a good point. How can we penalize, personally, administrators, teachers and students involved in these abuses? How can they be made to experience pain personally, rather than delegating it to the local property taxpayers?

        It’s not obvious. Maybe some staff can be fired, and anyone making physical threats can acquire a police record. Find that staff acted “ultra vires” and make them pay fines personally until bankrupt.

      JohnSmith100 in reply to Milhouse. | October 9, 2022 at 11:05 am

      The district has created a hostile environment. Teachers, i.e., district employees have participated.

      In fact, this is very similar to Oberlin.

      henrybowman in reply to Milhouse. | October 9, 2022 at 2:58 pm

      According to Rhode Island general laws 16-2-17 right to safe school:

      “Each student, staff member, teacher, and administrator has a right to attend and/or work at a school which is safe and secure, and which is conducive to learning, and which is free from the threat, actual or implied, of physical harm by a disruptive student. A disruptive student is a person who is subject to compulsory school attendance, who exhibits persistent conduct which substantially impedes the ability of other students to learn, or otherwise substantially interferes with the rights stated above, and who has failed to respond to corrective and rehabilitative measures presented by staff, teachers, or administrators”

      I think “fuck you, fuck you, ima kill you bitch” qualifies. The administrators are at fault for not removing the disruptive students.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Pasadena Phil. | October 9, 2022 at 10:59 am

    There is something for them to lose, taxpayers should recall the school board and replace the superintendent with one who will purge the school of woke slugs.

Remember the Anti-Bullying campaign?
Guess that was until the Bullies got in power

Went to the USC Parents’ Weekend tailgate festivities today. Talked a long time with the parents of one of our youngest daughter’s best friends and sorority sister. The parents are from China. Both mother and father were chemistry professors in Beijing universities. I told the father I’ve seen a few Chinese people on TV complaining that the United States is taking steps similar to the CCP and asked him if he agreed.

He emphatically agreed that the United States, especially the current administration, is headed in a dangerous direction … a direction from which he and his wife escaped. I was a little tipsy from the tailgating … but our talk was sobering.

Go Trojans! Go Individual Freedom!

There seems to be a flaw in the education of administrators (and probably faculty) at many educational institutions. They never heard of things like free speech, due process, equality before the law, and such like.

Basic stuff every citizen should know and the folks running education have no idea.

    M Poppins in reply to irv. | October 10, 2022 at 4:00 pm

    typical of the ignorance at govt schools – exactly what one should expect from them. Collective conformity, lowest common denominator.

“you are instructed that you must not have any direct or indirect contact with District staff, students, or parents; this includes electronic communication such as email, calling/texting, and social networking sites.”

REEEEEEEALLY?

I don’t see a judge’s name anywhere on that gag order.

I would have no problem speaking or emailing with any parent or parent group that took the initiative of contacting me first, and Philip Dru Raymond Lambert, Administrator, can suck it.

    goddessoftheclassroom in reply to henrybowman. | October 8, 2022 at 8:00 pm

    Exactly! How DARE they limit any employee so? Yes, they could limit her access to the building, but the administration has no right to limit her interactions with members of the public.

    Milhouse in reply to henrybowman. | October 8, 2022 at 10:57 pm

    The order has no legal force, but it could be a matter of internal discipline, if some sort of charge has been filed against her and the district is having some sort of investigation into it. In that case the consequences of her ignoring the order could be that the internal case will be decided against her. Once she is fired or disciplined, then she can sue in a real court.

      artichoke in reply to Milhouse. | October 10, 2022 at 10:19 pm

      As long as they’re paying her, they can set the rules to some large degree. I don’t know how big that is. Like, when they sentenced her to work in a windowless basement office, could she no-show instead? A windowless room is unreasonable, but if you can just have a paycheck and freedom with your time too, what’s not to like? Get a teaching job in another district if you actually love the kiddies.

    Milhouse in reply to henrybowman. | October 8, 2022 at 11:03 pm

    Still, if I were here I’d reply to that letter with a big “Or what?” And I’d follow it up by doing a mass email to everyone I’d been ordered not to contact, just saying “Raymond Lambert thinks he can order me not to contact you, so consider yourself contacted”. Then dare him to do anything about it.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to henrybowman. | October 9, 2022 at 11:13 am

    It is common for k-12 administrators to be dumb and to have a god complex. In my experience, most are washed up jocks, a group which has great difficulty maturing.

      JohnSmith100 in reply to JohnSmith100. | October 9, 2022 at 11:17 am

      Those who can teach, those who cannot teach become coaches followed by becoming administrators.

        Dathurtz in reply to JohnSmith100. | October 9, 2022 at 2:21 pm

        That is my general experience. So far I have had 11 administrators and 3 of them were competent teachers.

        Another Voice in reply to JohnSmith100. | October 9, 2022 at 9:19 pm

        Having worked in a position of support services within the School District Administration Dept. it is a fact when an Administrator reaches a salary point and/or competency issue, the standard operating practice is to put them on notice during an evaluation granting them a year to start applying elsewhere. With that comes a high recommendation from the School Board and Superintendent on the skill set of this person. In other words- the game plan is in order to move them out is to move them up, pawning their problems onto another district. No one ever gets fired. When a District hires an administrator with over 7/8 years in one District, it is wise to research past the recommendation and inquire as why now and why here.

      M Poppins in reply to JohnSmith100. | October 10, 2022 at 4:01 pm

      in my experience the men are eunuchs and the women are brainless sheep

theduchessofkitty | October 8, 2022 at 8:08 pm

Time for her to contact the FIRE. Sue Providence school district under the First Amendment. Make. Them. Pay.

And teach those CRT/BLM/Woke bullies a VERY EXPENSIVE LESSON they should NEVER forget!

Steven Brizel | October 8, 2022 at 9:58 pm

I hope she sues and the school is forced to reinstate her snd pay damages for allowing the inmates to run the asylum

    Milhouse in reply to Steven Brizel. | October 8, 2022 at 10:58 pm

    Sues for what? She doesn’t have a legal right to be assigned teaching duties. As far as I can see the most she can do is file a grievance with her union.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Steven Brizel. | October 9, 2022 at 11:20 am

    I would prefer that she get a very large judgement which allows her to live like a queen and only work if she feels like doing so.

She’s not suspended with pay.

She is being been fired and is being paid salary as severance until they can figure out how to stop paying her without getting sued.

Now that the Gibson’s Bakery case had wrapped up their attorneys may be looking for another similar high profile case. This one seems ready made for them.

    Milhouse in reply to JHogan. | October 8, 2022 at 11:00 pm

    She’s not suspended with pay.

    She is being been fired and is being paid salary as severance until they can figure out how to stop paying her without getting sued.

    Where did you get that? Everything I’ve seen, including the letter produced here, says she’s suspended with pay. Administrative leave.

    What do you think the Gibsons’ lawyers could do for her? What are her grounds for suing? So long as she isn’t fired, and they’re still paying her, what rights does she have?

      Treguard in reply to Milhouse. | October 9, 2022 at 2:29 am

      This one’s easy, she’s being harassed. Does she have a legal right to a teaching position? No.

      BUT! I assume that yes, she in fact has a contract to be a teacher. This is what got the school in trouble in the *first* place. Sue them for breach.

        Milhouse in reply to Treguard. | October 9, 2022 at 10:41 am

        Her contract entitles her only to be paid. She’s being paid. Anything further is a matter for the union’s grievance procedure.

          JohnSmith100 in reply to Milhouse. | October 9, 2022 at 11:27 am

          She is entitled to a work environment where she is not being harassed. Such harassment is actionable

          DaveGinOly in reply to Milhouse. | October 9, 2022 at 10:21 pm

          Her contract probably grants her opportunities for “professional improvement”, like, maybe the experience that comes from actually teaching students in a class.

    Another Voice in reply to JHogan. | October 9, 2022 at 10:19 pm

    If she has been placed on Administrative Leave with pay to cover the time period between this action and final termination of employment, by coverage of her membership in the Teachers Union gives her certain legal rights of representation on any separation of employment from the district by the legal team of her Teaches Union. In NYS, that is referred to as filing of a Section 3214 which takes it to arbitration. The filing stays the issue of pay for when it is filed, it is within the period of her placement on Paid Administrative Leave. It continues and cannot cease until a final arbitration agreement is reached and filed with particulars. I have seen this last up to 3 years. If she needs to get outside counsel,(which can happen if current counsel is not bargaining in good faith) a member in good standing,(current to dues payments) all of this can be covered and financially negotiated in the final agreement for need of legal outside representation. Some things in an agreement is what the District legally can say or not say and also can have the District to provide an employment recommendation for future employment using only the annual evaluations in her personnel file upto and inclusive of the period of employment prior to a stated period of time or when she took a voluntary leave of absence for Personal Reasons.

    I have also seen times when all of this was negotiated between the Board of Ed. who opt to go directly to settlement in order to avoid a stretched out legal settlement with a inactive paid employee on the payroll for possibly 3 years. The legal cost for any length of time over two years can run into the millions where those costs are line items in the budget and open to the scrutiny and questioning in public by those who pay school taxes. Elected School Board Members try to avoid this minor detail as those tax dollars were “For the Kids”.

      artichoke in reply to Another Voice. | October 10, 2022 at 10:22 pm

      All legal stuff is hidden in our district. There may be a line item in a budget somewhere, but I don’t think a specific litigation would be broken out. It’s all discussed in executive session with the school board, not open meetings.

E Howard Hunt | October 9, 2022 at 7:19 am

She should quit and go teach at an appropriate private or religious school. Even if left totally unmolested she cannot possibly make any difference in this sewer.

Don’t contracts last a year? Sounds like they have a plan to sideline her without going to court.

    Milhouse in reply to r2468. | October 9, 2022 at 10:42 am

    The union contract probably doesn’t let them fire her without cause. And they’ll have trouble coming up with a cause.

      JohnSmith100 in reply to Milhouse. | October 9, 2022 at 11:50 am

      They will do their best to fabricate a plausible reason to fire her, and then proceed with no mercy. She needs to sue now, and use her paid time to organize school board removal. maybe her new calling will be to found a nonprofit as a vehicle to hold schools accountable? Or maybe she should start a charter school and take students, staff and money from this school?

      r2468 in reply to Milhouse. | October 9, 2022 at 7:21 pm

      I recall schools putting teachers in rooms without students and paying them to sit there all day instead of firing them. I think this is similar. The school system wants her out of school so they come up with this BS investigation so she can’t teach.

Paul In Sweden | October 9, 2022 at 10:57 am

This is not America. We are broken as a people.

Critical Roach Theory (CRT) is constructed with the observation that the disease carrying bugs will scatter then swarm with exposure.

BierceAmbrose | October 9, 2022 at 9:41 pm

The school admin didn’t bow to the mob; they are the mob. And once it went public, they — the whole wad — had to win, and be seen winning.

Is she single? Looking? If so, I could make myself available. A woman can never be too rich, you know.

What seems to be missing in these ongoing reports of Ms. Bessinger’s plight is the parents of the students at this (these) school(s).
Where are they since her fight is in actuality- or should be realized to be – THEIR fight for the minds and futures of their kids?!
The parents have power to recall the memo of these school boards and entities who seem to be spending more time persecuting a teacher who’s sounding an alarm about the abuse of teaching criteria that is detrimental to the well-being of the school and community., than they are about the welfare of the students.
If that community of parents is SILENT than that entire school system should be written off as it exposes the root of the problem: that the parents and community are in agreement with the school administrators and hence part of the problem.
Only, ONLY when the parents and community get involved ON HER BEHALF will their be even a glimmer of a chance that these schools – and their children – can be saved.

    M Poppins in reply to DelightLaw1. | October 10, 2022 at 4:05 pm

    the parents are subliterates who don’t care

      artichoke in reply to M Poppins. | October 10, 2022 at 10:27 pm

      It’s certainly too much to ask a teacher to fix all that. At the same time, unfortunately the parents aren’t the ones funding the school. Public policy requires that the productive taxpayers elsewhere subsidize this mob that’s attacking this teacher.

Things that need to be investigated:

-How does the school’s principal account for the fact that the student mentioned in the complaint has avoided expulsion?

-What have school officials done to evaluate the claim that other teachers were involved in organizing the harassment campaign? It says in the article that Bessinger provided the names of some of these teachers to adminstrators, so what records do school officials have of what they did what that information?

-Since school officials clearly had advance warning of the disruptive “protest,” what specific measures, if any, did they take to prevent it?

Unless there are surprisingly good answers to these questions, only an extensive housecleaning of teachers, administrators, and students–in addition to monetary damages–will send a clear message.

    M Poppins in reply to Jones-NY. | October 10, 2022 at 4:10 pm

    govt schools rarely expel students for any reason, no matter how heinous. I refer you to Florida mass killer Nikolas Cruz, who had been reported for making violent threats numerous times, and to Trayvon Martin, who had been caught stealing. Neither were disciplined in any way.

Stuart Hurlbert | October 10, 2022 at 5:15 pm

A major obstacle to getting a positive result in such situations is the difficulty of keeping the general public and the most concerned stakeholders informed, objectively and accurately about what is going on. In the present case, these would include all the administrators, all the teachers, all the parents, all the school board members, all the members of the county or state board of education, all the local politicians, the news media, etc.

Each of these entities will always have reasons for not adopting “Let the sun shine in” as their motto. They all have special interests that can conflict with what is best or fairest for one set of stakeholders or another. Those who control the formal communication channels and group email lists will usually deny or attempt to deny their use by “outsider” individuals and organizations and/or demand control rights over message contents.

In the present case, any individual in Providence or San Diego or in between could with a little effort get the email addresses of every Providence school board member, every teacher, every county board member, every Rhode Island journalist covering the education beat, every faculty member in the URI School of Education, etc., etc. and forward this article to them.

Perhaps preface it with your own polished opinion, even something like an op ed. You need to be smart and cogent but you don’t have to have any organization backing you up. Should be done under your real name of course. Requires you creating your own grouped and labelled sets of email addresses, e.g. ProvidenceTeachers. Need to respond promptly and graciously when people reply, “Take me off your list.” This allows a given list to be refined over time. If you’re sending out quality, information-rich, civil messages, you’d be surprised how few will ask to be taken off even when you’re dealing with controversial issues and a cross-section of people..

Have been doing this myself on many controversial issues for a few decades in academia, environmental organizations, scientific disciplines, civil rights issues, etc. Have had a number of concrete victories but perhaps more importantly also just given other “classical liberals” courage to speak out — and an opportunity to forward my messages to others.

Libertas_7_4_1776 | October 10, 2022 at 7:49 pm

The law is now the first resort in “forcing” humane treatment after the opportunity to do the right thing at the right time has passed. I saw no reference to personal helping behavior here. Why do we no longer step forward to help those who are being falsely harassed and persecuted.? The law is a poor substitute for compassion and courage.

    henrybowman in reply to Libertas_7_4_1776. | October 12, 2022 at 3:02 am

    Personal assistance is fine for helping the victim, but does nothing to punish the offender. We’re in the state we are in because no offender ever gets punished.

If I were in Ramona’s situation, I would use the paid administrative leave as an opportunity to do some activism of her own. I have to believe she is doing this on principle, so it’s not one of those cases where she wants to make a killing on some sort of legal judgment against the school district.
Now she has all the time in the world to stir the pot while the school district continues to pay her salary. Aside from any legal actions she takes, it would be great if she takes it to the court of public opinion as well and generates as much bad publicity for the school district and her tormentors as possible.

Steven Brizel | October 13, 2022 at 2:17 pm

Ms. Bessinger deserves all of the moral, financial and legal support possible that will be necessary to fight a school district that has caved into the demands of the woke mob