Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been wrangling for months over how best to reform LIFO, the "last-in first-out" teacher firing policy. One such idea that has been proposed is for principals to be given more power with their recommendations as to who should be fired or not. But there's one downside to this: what if your principal is a crazy lunatic out to get you?
Michael McPherrin, who teaches at Independence High School in Manhattan, told NY1 that he believe his boss, Principal Ron Smolkin, sent a vicious anonymous letter to his co-op as a personal vendetta. The author of the note, who claims to be representing concerned residents of the building, reveals intimate personal details about McPherrin, and makes several accusations about him and his longtime partner Andre Lopes: "The talk of the building is that both Mike and illegal immigrant Andre suffer from full blown AIDS and have no problem infecting others including the underage boys they bring to the apartment." McPherrin was stunned by the note: "As you read, your jaw just keeps dropping because it just gets worse...This was an attempt to destroy our lives and me professionally," McPherrin said.
The building management called it "anonymous hate mail" and wrote McPherrin that, "our records indicate there are no complaints against you or your partner." The handwritten envelope was brought to an analyst who found it "highly likely" they matched samples of handwriting McPherrin said were Smolkin's. McPherrin believes that Smolkin targeted him after he became the teacher's union rep and organized staff members concerned about Smolkin's leadership. "He has a history of retaliatory vindictive actions," McPherin said, including one case where a judge ruled Smolkin falsely accused a school aide of an assault inside the building and fired her without benefits.