Substitute teachers are being denied rights by Greenwich schools

FI-Letter-to-the-EditorTo the Editor

Our public schools have a homework assignment for Greenwich residents. It calls for an immediate investigation of Board of Education policies and practices concerning its treatment of substitute teachers.

Unlike regular teachers represented by the teachers’ union, substitutes have no recourse to refute allegations. They’re presumed guilty and denied future work. Despite their paychecks being issued by the town’s payroll department, subs are categorized as “at will” workers. As such they have no rights, including the right to appeal slanderous and/or false accusations. They are often not afforded the respect their role merits by regular teachers and/or school officials.

The most flagrant abusive practices occur when they accept special education assignments. Unlike regular teaching assignments that include a lesson plan to follow, special ed assignments do not. Special ed subs frequently receive what appear to be spur-of-the-moment, makeshift instructions that are often inaccurate and/or incomplete. This sets up the sub for “failure to follow instructions” and other false accusations.

Both regular teaching assignments and special education assignments specify the name of the teacher requesting sub coverage. Despite this, when subs report for special ed work they find themselves being misdirected and/or being assigned servile/non-teaching tasks such as shredding papers or going from classroom to classroom to ask if the teacher needs help. And while this is happening (unbeknown to the sub) derogatory reports are being made alleging poor or unsatisfactory performance.

Subs are effectively powerless and subject to any false accusations that virtually anyone above them decides to allege.

Subs should not be treated as subservient pawns and given inaccurate instructions that set them up for failure. Subs, like regular teachers, are subject to err. They are not infallible. They are also not scapegoats to be used to conceal the ineptitude of special ed sycophants and the corrupt administration that preserves and perpetuates their abusive practices.

There are many subs that are more highly educated than the regular teachers they are subbing for yet they are treated like non-entities and everyone’s pawn to overlord. The situation is despicable and merits the outrage of victimized subs and town residents alike.


Harold Dill

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