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Raqnel James – Not Guilty!

December 21, 2011 pm31 11:34 pm

Raqnel James won a just verdict, but when will real justice come?

Three years ago Fordham HS for the Arts principal Iris Blige had Raqnel arrested, paraded of out school in handcuffs, for threatening the principal. But the threatening letter, no one ever saw anyone aside from Blige with the letter in their possession. And today a judge, in finding Raqnel not guilty, agreed with her supporters and did not believe that Raqnel wrote it.

At the time, Lynne Winderbaum, United Federation of Teachers District Rep for Bronx High Schools (and one hell of an ESL teacher) organized a protest in front of the school. Four hundred teachers from dozens of schools showed up in support. Raqnel was not Iris Blige’s first victim – she fits the profile of an abusive administrator. How many teachers did she rubber room? U rate?  And those U ratings?  A year ago OSI found that she had inappropriately ordered APs to U teachers, sight unseen (and as a result was fined the equivalent of a car payment, for a year and a half). But having a teacher led out in handcuffs, threatened with deportation, enough was enough and chapter leaders and activists rallied loudly.

The charge was preposterous, and rightly rejected. But the charge was viciously and maliciously calculated – Raqnel is from Jamaica, an international teacher, and “due process” is not equally due all of us. She has been out of school for three years. She fought deportation; she fought criminal charges; she fought two dozen postponements.

The reward is sweet. Not guilty. It sounds that good. And another reward is putting her accuser on the stand, for none to believe.

But those bills. Those lost years. The mental anguish.

We have a just verdict. Now we need justice.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane Gallagher permalink
    December 22, 2011 pm31 1:08 pm 1:08 pm

    This needs to be taken further; it is not enough to be “found” innocent after three years of anguish, bogus criminal charges, and postponements. Evil is what comes to mind. Accountability is a rare activity for too many who remain passive or actively engage in support of too many very sick and incompetent principals. The damage done to students and educators who are in the DOE cauldron of abuse and constant flux is deep. We need democracy in our union and in the DOE.

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 11, 2012 pm29 6:08 pm 6:08 pm

      I have been a victim of worst…I paid cope for nearly 18 years and the UFT did crap for me,,,I have been unemployed for 6 years and my abusive administrator retired with an awesome packet!!! UFT SUCKS!!!

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