I’d Be Honored to Attend Your Graduation




This upcoming Monday, June 24, 2013, students that I taught or tutored or coached in 6th and 7th grade will be graduating. Unfortunately I have lost out seeing them through 8th grade. My support comes from all different groups, but as a teacher the words from my former students are my favorite.In addition to the many words of support and testimonialsthat they write to me, I really felt I should act on this one below:

Message from former student

Message from former student

I was honored to receive that message and contacted the parent. I felt that Principal Linda Hill and her amazing DOE Legal consultants were going to find a way to prevent this. I sent the following message to Principal Hill copying several others.


From:Francesco Portelos<fportelos@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Jun 7, 2013 at 1:18 PM
Subject: Attending IS 49 Graduation
To: Linda Hill <LHill2@schools.nyc.gov>
Cc: Brodsky David <dbrodsky@schools.nyc.gov>, RSinger4 <rsinger4@schools.nyc.gov>, Greenfield Robin <rgreenf@schools.nyc.gov>, Sean Rotkowitz <srotkowitz@uft.org>, sblau@schools.nyc.gov, ksolimando@schools.nyc.gov, Courtenaye Jackson-Chase <cjackson-chase@schools.nyc.gov>, DMWalcott@schools.nyc.gov, eclaudi@schools.nyc.gov, tcooney@schools.nyc.gov, “Rodi Katherine G.” <krodi@schools.nyc.gov>

Dear Principal Hill,

Students have asked that I attend their graduation on June 24th. See attached. It’s not in the building and should not be a problem. It actually should not be a problem even if it was in the building. If I need to, student’s parents told me they would get me a ticket. As a member and union chapter leader of Dreyfus, I shouldn’t need one.

I assume this is the part where you and the DOE attorneys start calling each other to come up with some ridiculous reason to ban me. We, the students and public, eagerly await a professional response.

Also, if you find out which student it is, please do not retaliate against them. I’m told a parent who supported me last year had her child surprisingly sent to Summer School.

Student testimonialshttp://educatorfightsback.org/comments/


-Francesco Portelos

*sent from my Galaxy S3. Please pardon any typos


Before I received a response to this I received this message from another, very supportive parent:

Parent graduation

It’s unfortunate that I have to redact so much information. Not only because of FERPA laws, but mostly that the students can and will be retaliated against. I may have to just sit by myself at graduation.

This morning, June 21, 2013 I received this email from Principal Linda Hill.


From:Hill Linda (31r049)<LHill2@schools.nyc.gov>
Date: Fri, Jun 21, 2013 at 7:34 AM
Subject: RE: Attending IS 49 Graduation
To: Francesco Portelos <fportelos@gmail.com>

Mr. Portelos,

I have been advised by legal that although you may attend our graduation, as the guest of a student, it must be with your agreement not to disrupt the proceedings in any way or use this as an opportunity to advance your own agenda. If you disrupt in any way, you will be directed to leave the event and will be subject to discipline.

Since you will not be attending in any professional capacity, attending the graduation would require you to use your personal days. Please note that you have used all of your personal days this school year and, as a result, your attendance at the graduation, on a workday, will cause you to be charged for an unauthorized absence.

Principal Hill

Linda V. Hill
Principal, IS 49
tel. 718 727 6040
fax. 718 876 8207


rom:Francesco Portelos<fportelos@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Jun 21, 2013
Subject: Re: Attending IS 49 Graduation
To: “Hill Linda (31r049)” <lhill2@schools.nyc.gov>
Cc: Brodsky David <dbrodsky@schools.nyc.gov>, RSinger4 <rsinger4@schools.nyc.gov>, Greenfield Robin <rgreenf@schools.nyc.gov>, Sean Rotkowitz <srotkowitz@uft.org>, sblau@schools.nyc.gov, ksolimando@schools.nyc.gov, Courtenaye Jackson-Chase <cjackson-chase@schools.nyc.gov>, DMWalcott@schools.nyc.gov, eclaudi@schools.nyc.gov, tcooney@schools.nyc.gov, “Rodi Katherine G.” <krodi@schools.nyc.gov>

Principal Hill,

Thank you. My agenda has been, and always will be, the betterment of the school community. I am not looking to go to graduation waving a big “Don’t Tread on Me” flag or pass out “Protect Portelos” flyers. I will be there to honor the great achievement of my 7th grade students from last year and former 6th graders before that.
It is no surprise that I won’t be compensated for attending like my colleagues will. I used my personal days for the birth of my son and have about 15 days in my CAR. It doesn’t matter to me. The $200 I will lose in salary is a small price to pay to attend this great event. However, if you need me to help out as I have done in the past, please do not hesitate to ask.
PS: I did “not hack” your signature file posted under your name in your emails.
Francesco Portelos
IS 49 Chapter Leader
“As a matter of self-preservation, a man needs good friends or ardent enemies, for the former instruct him and the latter take him to task” -Diogenes
As I read her response I am told I will not be paid as I am not going in my professional capacity, HOWEVER if I “act up” I may be disciplined. So which is it If another guest acts up, can they get disciplined
In any case, my attendance is for the students and nothing else.
Last month I ran into another favorite student of mine and he has been following the story. What he said made my hair stand on end and was touching. “You were a great teacher, but trust me…you are making more of a difference on the outside than you are on the inside.” :/

About Francesco Portelos

Parent and Educator fighting for the student and the teacher.
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  1. This actually made me cry. When I was removed…my students begged me to attend their graduation. I felt so horrible. I wanted to go, but didn’t. Reading what you go through brings up these old things…that I thought I had buried and no longer cared a drop about. I was not as smart and savvy as you are. I hope you have a wonderful day at the graduation…just smile….cause those kids will be happy to see you. That alone should be worth more than anything…

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