Former English High teacher complains

February 16, 2007
By

JOHN RUCH

A former English High School teacher speaking on the condition of anonymity told the Gazette last week that Headmaster José Duarte “threatened” him out of the school two years ago and has since made good on a promise that, “I wouldn’t be able to find a job in the entire system of Boston Public Schools.”

The complaint echoes former substitute teacher Jeffrey Herman’s lawsuit alleging that Duarte forced him out of the school, and similar complaints made by an anonymous group of teachers in a letter last month to Boston Public Schools (BPS) Superintendent Michael Contompasis.

Duarte did not respond to a Gazette message left with his assistant, Georgette Travis.

The teacher said that when he objected to Duarte entering the classroom during class to ask for paperwork, Duarte made several return visits “and threatened me, saying, ‘I’m going to fire you, I’m going to fire you,’ in front of the students.” The teacher said he eventually left the school and recently had other teaching jobs lined up, only to be turned down. He said BPS’s human resources department told him that Duarte “had a campaign against me…[and was] giving me very bad references as a person.”

BPS spokesperson Jonathan Palumbo said that, aside from Herman’s case, BPS still has no formal complaints from teachers about such behavior. He noted that BPS has a full grievance process. He also noted that headmasters have the “responsibility” to review employee performance honestly, which might involve negative references.

The Boston Teachers Union did not return a Gazette phone call for this article.