School Board Must Give Employees Rights


The Miami Herald gets it. Does the Broward School Board?

The Kafkaesque investigations of Broward school employees must stop, the Herald said today. Employees must get the same rights as everybody else.

Elementary School Principal Rebecca Dahl endured a 22-month nightmare until she was finally cleared by the state.

Former School Board member Bev Gallagher has been charged with taking bribes. Today Gallagher has more rights in her federal case today than the school employees charged with falsifying records like Dahl.

The school’s Special Investigative Unit and the school system’s legal flunkies who prosecuted the case obviously never read the American law or the U. S. Constitution.

Maybe they studied the laws of Cuba and North Korea?

The Broward school cops initially refused to even tell Dahl what she was accused of doing wrong. They refused to tell her the name of her accuser. She was given only 10 minutes to defend herself at a hearing.

The right to know what you are charged with and who is accusing you is enshrined in our law. The law allows you reasonable time to defend yourself.

The case was bogus from the start, the product of a vendetta by another administrator.  Yet it took almost two years and much legal work for Dahl to clear her name.

The school system spent thousands pursuing this foolish case. Remember that the next time Board members are begging for money.  

The Herald calls the Dahl case “outrageous. I agree and so do many of my readers who posted comments on my previous post.

But for the School Board, the debate continues. What’s the debate about?

Board members say they need to study the issue.  The Herald says it best:

“A good source for board members to do some research for the needed reforms would be the U.S. Constitution.”

Just do it. Bring the rights we all enjoy into the school system.

Every employee has the right to know what they are charged with and the right to face their accuser. Every employees should have a reasonable time to prepare their defense.

The time is now.

14 Responses to “School Board Must Give Employees Rights”

  1. Long time teacher says:

    I have taught for 33 years.
    One of the reasons I am happy to be leaving this year is the unfair treatment of teachers by the SIU which you have outlined here.
    During my years with the system I have seen a number of those I know fall victim to false accusations that result in the kangeroo court proceedings of the SIU.
    You look the wrong way at an AP and you end up being investigated by SIU.
    Many teachers feel the Board doesn’t care about teachers or they would do something about the SIU.
    Thank God I am in Drop.

  2. Marie, Parent says:

    My son was interviewed by the Special Investigations without ever telling me. After I talked to him, I found out he felt threatened into testifying against his teacher by the SIU agent and I have no idea what harm was done him by having to endure this. The Board should forbid interviewing students without notifying their parents, unless there is a life threatening situation.

  3. Garfish says:

    Marie makes an excellent point.

    Another point that not many know (in regards to SIU investigations and penalties), is that the burden of proof for punishment is only probable cause, NOT reasonable doubt.

    Another aspects of the SIU Kangaroo Court where you have 10 minutes to defend yourself is that the panel you are going in front of is only composed of principals and administrators. If you are a bus driver, there aren’t any bus drivers on the panel.

  4. Blue Man Scoop says:

    I doubt you will find many workplaces that have the same protections as a criminal trial.

    Probable cause sounds reasonable for a workplace violation. The other issues (10 minutes, not being able to face your accuser or knowing what you are accused of, interviewing students without parents permission, etc.) are inconsionable.

    Then again, you have a (state) constitutional “right to work” wherever you want…

  5. Rotten to the Core says:

    The Broward County School District is a woefully mismanaged and corrupt government agency operating within an arrogant culture of denial.

    They are not accountable to those they serve and operate without the benefit of any benevolent organizational soul guiding them toward proper operational goals and practices.

    They are corrupt in their spending and inept in their administrative tasks. They promote the corrupt and enept while passing over those that are honest and offer merit.

    They have lost all connection to basic concepts of public service.

    The bureaucracy is used as a tool by management to punish honorable employees instead of empower them.

    The School Board sees all of this yet does nothing to stop it.

    The place needs an enema. They have to sweep it clean and bring in new blood to try and make it work. Short of that the results will be continue to be disappointing.

  6. Garfish says:

    Probable cause sounds reasonable for potentially having your license to teach revoked? Doesn’t sound reasonable to me.

  7. Wm. F. Hirschman says:

    It is about time someone talked about this. I kept trying to get an S-S editor interested in this topic the entire time I was an education reporter. This process is completely backwards and the only shred of “due process” is that they are consistent in their application of the procedures in this Kafka-esque system.

  8. Mr. Jay says:

    I know a principal who was illiegally moving money around in different accounts! It was reported to SUI nothing. This same scumbag of a principal went after a teacher and denied everything she did to harrass this teacher.

    She denied e-mails written memos etc. When it came down to the SUI investigation and everyone sat around the table SUI started grilling the teacher and the union rep. The teacher was made up to be a monster who did nothing wrong but follow orders from the principal and she sat their and denied it all.

    Imagaine everyone’s surprise when the teacher and the union produced all the e-mails and signed memos that this principal sent. All original copies I may add.

    SUI got up and said we lost this one!

    The principal got a letter or repremand after the teacher and the union threatened to go to the newspapers!!

    For once BTUseless was not useless. Problem, there are too feew of these cases and people let SUI intimaadate them, Hey if you have the facts and proof you have nothing to worry about.

  9. Blue Man Scoop says:

    @ Garfish: No, that is different and was not what I was talking about. The School Board doesn’t revoke your license. The Florida DOE does and you have rights under DOAH. This is about hiring and firing.

    For example: If i am an attorney at the state attorney’s office, I could be fired for whatever and it wouldn’t necessarily be criminal or even against the rules of the bar.

  10. Dan Reynolds says:


    The injustices in school employment do not begin or end with BCSB or SIU. School employees face double and sometimes triple investigations from the state, DOE, and local school boards and then potentially local law enforcement.

    By the way; The Miami Herald and it’s Publishing company, McClatchy are notoriously nasty employers and union busters. Check your constitutional rights at the door if you work there.

  11. Garfish says:

    Blue Man Scoop…Dan Reynolds is correct. I also think we’re saying similar things.

    While I realize that a school board employee can be fired for a non-criminal offense, most of the offenses a teacher would be accused of violating that warrants an SIU investigation would be criminal in nature. I’ve known teachers who were investigated by their local police department because the complaint against them would amount to felony child abuse. The local police department conducts their investigation, concludes that the criminal complaint is false, no charges were filed, and SIU still removed the educator from the classroom for months AFTER the police investigation was concluded and dropped.

    I’ve been told a short investigation for SIU would take a minimum of two months. I know teachers who were out for nine months before being completely exonerated, but lost the opportunity to teach Summer School, and lost that income opportunity. It is conceivable that a local law enforcement agency could find nothing, and SIU could recommend sanctions to the state DOE, which could include a license revocation.

  12. nottinamazesme says:

    “Every employee has the right to know what they are charged with and the right to face their accuser. Every employees should have a reasonable time to prepare their defense.”
    A few years ago, a very dear and long-time friend of mine was accused of striking a child by a parent. The principal called for a meeting and never told the teacher what the meeting was about until the parent began talking. The administrators had ganged up with the parent to entertain a personal vendetta circus while the teacher was caught by surprise with this malicious and mendacious accusation. There are just too many inept and totally corrupt administrators in Broward.
    The system doesn’t have any hope for change in its future unless new faces are at the helm and new people put in charge of all the programs and departments downtown. The corruption has lasted for far too many years and has filtered and trickled all the way down. It is a big, disgraceful mess. Each day I pity the teachers that work in this county. Between the corrupt board and its corrupt administrators, I don’t know how teachers are able to function. I really don’t.

  13. Blue Man Scoop says:,0,5279641.story

    I thought i’d post this story, because it directly pertains to what Garfish said, the deputy was acquitted and he lost his job.

  14. Garfish says:

    Blue Man Scoop…you validate my point with that article. It’s not right in that instance either.