Rubber Room Journal

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Life In A Shoebox” by Johnny Roset Cervini. 2013 (and courtesy of) Black House Records, LLC

This song sums it up. “Don’t you ever wonder when…these games are gonna end

For daily viewers, I added a Go to bottom of pagelink to decrease scrolling.

Welcome. This will be a running record of some thoughts and experiences of my day to day dealings with a very broken system that seems to put the student’s best interest last. I was removed from my classroom on April 26, 2012. I’m now placed 2 boroughs away at 8201 Rockaway Blvd, NY to sit and await the completion of investigations pertaining to crazy allegations made by Principal Linda Hill, Assistant Principal Joanne Aguirre and former UFT Chapter Leader Rich Candia.

Click Here for Full Storyif you are new,

Click Here for Ridiculous Allegationsif you want to know why I was removed.

132 Days Out September 4, 2012– Swung by my school, Berta Dreyfus IS 49, to greet the staff as they begin a new school year. It’s about a mile or so from my house and it’s the least I can do as their new union Chapter Leader, who can’t physically step foot in the building. I stayed on the public sidewalk, so thereshouldn’tbe a problem.

Drove in to network office, 20 miles away, and was positioned on the 3rd floor conference room. I scanned the place for hidden cameras and mics, but didn’t find any (yet). I’m in there alone and in solitary confinement. Spoke to some new and veteran rubber room educators. I count at least 5 educators banished here so far. I’m setting them up with technology as far as hot spotting, sites to read, how to FOIL and how to set up a blog to also share their stories. I love social media! I think I’m seeing a pattern of who really gets sent here. I’m working on a new angle for an investigation I’m pursuing. Can’t say much yet.

Remember, the rubber rooms do not exist.

Found some network offices are being broken down and dissolved. Even our site seems like it doesn’t exist anymore. Something is brewing. What’s a network officeSome info here.

Tomorrow I may try and do some push-ups and sit-ups. Might as well work out and get buff to match my new hairdo.

133 Days Out September 5, 2012

Stopped outside of school again today. Met with some of my constituents. Heard a complaint was filed by administration already. Oh well, just put it on my tab.

Headed back to my “rubber room” virtual cell in Ozone Park. Was moved from my solitary confinement to my old cubicle from last year. Started reading about theChildrens First Networks (CFN). Pretty interesting especially since I’m going to eventually be an administrator. It made sense that a system was put in place to support the operations of the school. As a principal, how can you effectively keep track of everything (custodians, electricity, budget etc) and put the direct needs of the staff and students on one plate However, in my personal situation there are things I didn’t like as far as a CFN supporting my principal in ways the public may not agree with.
I was also reading through myschool’s budget from last year. Remember, I believe me asking about it on December 13, 2012 started this mess. Very confusing to be honest. It will make more sense when I take my budget course in educational leadership.

No push-ups or sit-ups today as I’m meeting with lawyers and investigators. Can’t have perspiration stains on my shirt. Things have really changed. I’m not even breaking a sweat. I’m actually excited.

134 Days Out September 6, 2012

First official day of school with students. Didn’t drive by the school today as I wanted to gage traffic. I did see a student off mine who asked ” Where do they have you working now ” Remember, I live in the community.

Came in to Rubber Room and started sifting through my assistant principal’s DOE personnel file that I picked up from the FOIL unit at 52 Chambers St. yesterday. It was 91 pages, but they redacted so much information that I only received 59 pages. Jailhouse lawyer. 😉

I started reflecting on a meeting with my lawyer and 3 SCI investigators yesterday. It involved complaints I made. Most of the allegations are common knowledge throughout the school. The staff is afraid of retaliation. I’m not, so I shared it with pictures, videos and specific dates, but also some gray allegations. I don’t care if they come at me with not cooperating. I’m not giving names. Like someone told me “let them investigate. Don’t do the job for them.” I agree.

I was moved back to solitary confinement. I feel like president of a big corporation with my giant office. It should be a giant classroom full of students, but come on. That would happen only if people concerned with the student’s best interest ran the show.


Later I checked the back end stats of my site visits as about 600 visits took place in just a few hours after sharing myallegations. I was not surprised to see many visits from NYC Public Schools, but was very disheartened to see that they were still using Windows XP and Internet Explorer 7! What What year is this That came out 11 yrs ago. Mr Walcott, make me Chief Technology Officer of the DOE.

135 Days Out September 7, 2012

I had a crazy dream this morning. I was walking outside of a random school at night and a couple, in their 70s, passed by me in the opposite direction. As I continued to walk I heard a scuffle behind me. The old man, who I now noticed had a thick moustache, was having an altercation with a young man in his late 20’s. It didn’t seem that the young man wanted any part of it. Before I could tell, the old man was now twice his original size. He picks up the young man by neck and abdomen with two hands over his head. His wife just watched. I remember the young man kicking his feet as the old man approached a high chainlink fence surrounding a very recessed school yard. I tried to approach and help yelling “No! No! “, but it was too late. The old man had thrown him over the fence and the young man landed out of site, due to the fact the yard was so deep below the sidewalk. I had to run up to the fence in order to see him. It was now raining and all I saw was the young man laying on his back with legs and arms twitching. I put out my hands onto the fence screaming NOOOOOOO!” and woke up. I told you it was crazy. Very Freudian, no All day I’ve been trying to analyze it. Any thoughts (When commenting, state the date or day out since this post will continue.) I think I was still me and not the young man. The young man might represent the current era of educators, under attack and helpless. The old man Big money Educational policy makers Who knows

Anyway, I continued to my rubber room cell 20 miles away. In the car I listened to an”Eye of the Tiger”playlist I had created.

Motivates me, but nothing motivates me more than messages from students, other teachers and parents. I’m having so many railroaded teachers contact me that I’m going to add a “How To” section. Anyway…I made some calls to more politicians during lunch today. Let’s see who bites. After lunch I began reading my ebook for class. Love it so far.

I worked on my role as union chapter leader and put some things in to play. Holding last minute chapter meeting happy hour near school. I won’t back down. I can’t be stopped. Principal Hill can ignore all my emails and calls while violating contract, but this 9 second video clip says it all…

Obi Wan quote I shared with followers months ago.

*Short message to network people in my building. If you are reading this, then you have obviously read other parts of my site and you see how I was wronged. I’m not aloose cannon, but I am acannon. Don’t be nervous around me. There are only a few people here that I question the motives of since they support my principal. You should be upset withherfor not warning you who I was.

Enjoy your weekend!

138 Days Out September 10, 2012

Exciting news! The Chicago Teacher’s Union went on strike. Now a quick glimpse at the headlines makes it look like they may be greedy and don’t care about the 400,000 students. To borrow one of the UFT’s caucus’ called MORE (Movement of Rank and File Educators) slogan…”Our teacher’s working conditions are our student’s learning conditions”

Today was busy, but I feel like I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to. Good news is that my FOIL appeal was granted and they will continue to search for the 2 years of missing time cards. Thank you very much Ms. Jackson-Chase.

In other news the Rubber Room Registry has taken off:

I also found time to drop and do some crunches, but got horrible cramps. I’m out of shape, but I’m going to be so buff by the time I break out of this virtual teacher cell. Tomorrow I’m going to curl chairs.


139 Days Out September 11, 2012

Attempting a video log or vlog, instead of typing. I’m just hi-tech like that.

Remember, what you just saw is not real. Rubber rooms closed down in 2010. The other thoughts in my head are how can specific locations, times and dates be given for misconduct involving students in June and the assistant principal is not pulled out pending an investigation A separate video of questionable activity involving a student and the same assistant principal was also submitted to the superintendent and investigators. I am befuddled on how the system works. Go after teachers, but protect principals and assistant principals I can’t wait until I become principal then. See below comment sent to me anonymously that I forwarded to DOE officials. It describes the events that took place on June 6, 2012 where a suspended girl, student A, snuck in to school and beat up an assistant principal and teacher.

From anonymous staffmember via box :

“On the day of the incident, with Student A, AP A shielded Student A with her body so that she would not get cuffed by School Safety. Student A was pinned against the wall by her AP (AP A) her body up against Student A, and her two arms against the wall so that she had leverage to move her body if anyone tried to get to Student A.School safety tried on several occasions to try and secure Student to be cuffed, but AP A moved her body to and fro and and school safety was not able to cuff Student A. It was absolutely disgusting to see AP A’s body up against a studentAll of this can be verified by the video tape from the security cameras, she was next to Teacher A’s door. Principal called in school safety agents and tried to say that they were responsible for allowing Student A to get in building. School safety, at dismissal, is usually relieved by Principal or AP (when they were checking staff out for day) so that an agent can go to the doors to make sure they are closed. AP A was checking out staff for that day, but she did not go early to relive level 3, because she wanted staff to wait for making complaints about having to wait to check out. By the time AP A got to relieve level 3 was the same time that Student A sneaked through the doors. There are no suggestion because no matter what we do nothing is ever done about it…” End

I have thought long and hard about releasing the separate video depicting AP A apparently frisking a female student. I thought as a mandated reporter, all I had to do was submit it to the properauthorities, which I did. People have warned me “We have tried before and nothing gets done Portelos. It gets turned on the teachers.” I watch the news and speak to teachers in the rubber room who are in a “he said she said” with students about misconduct. Here I have hard evidence and still this AP walks the halls of the school. I am befuddled. Did we not learn from the Penn State Joe Paterno case

I’m waiting for anyone to come save our school.

140 Days Out September 12, 2012

No rubber room today. Spent the day shaking off something I caught from my son, who was projectilevomitingeverything we gave him. My wife is having pre labor cramps and is not working. We are getting there. New member of team Portelos coming soon.

141 Days Out September 13, 2012

Back to Ozone Park. Today I started breeding unicorns in the conference room. I know what you are thinking…”Mr. Portelos has gone off the deep end.” 🙂 I wrote that on purpose, so in upcoming months, when an attorney working against me, states “….well on your blog your wrote _____, so it must be true.” I can respond “But I also wrote that I was breeding unicorns in the conference room, does it mean I was really doing it” Then I will coin it “The Unicorn Defense“. What do you think

See I heard that the DOE has about 300 lawyers compared to my 1 personal lawyer. I am the underdog here and I think the bookies in Vegas will be interested in taking bets when we go to court. No offense to the lawyers, but I think the DOE needs to spend some money on psychologists instead. There is a new era of tech savvy educators. What used to work to break a teacher by sending them to the rubber room, surprising them with exile papers, prolonging the process, is not working for everyone. They, whoever “they” are have failed to break me. I’ll give them this much though, they were getting close at one point. However, when you wake a bear from hibernation and it starts charging at you, you can’t afford to miss the shot. “They” missed the shot and I’m still charging with more momentum than ever. I have interested media and concerned members of the public. I have a Federal Court hearing on September 21, 2012 and a State PERB case sometime this fall. On October 18, 2012 I have a small claims case at Staten Island Civil Court with Principal Hill and the DOE for the belongings they never returned to me or allowed me to obtain. See DOE, Where’s my Stuff

Unless of course they want to go this route…

That would be interesting…

I ended the day by reading the Common Core Standards again. I’m going to memorize them. PS: Who is from Medford, Long Island

142 Days Out September 14, 2012

It’s FRIDAY!!! That really doesn’t mean much to me. Friday’s meant more to me when I felt bogged down with work or had a tough week. That really hasn’t happened in a few years. I loved teaching and the students loved my class. I never had that “Oh crap, it’s Sunday night and I have to work tomorrow.” feeling. Not even with EPM, my environmental firm. They say “A man who loves their job never has to work a day in their life.” I believe that.

This morning I stopped by the school and parked uphill. I’m still UFT Chapter Leader and am concerned for my members. As staff members started coming out of their cars, a small, impromptu, meeting ensued. In the distance, I could see one of the assistant principals looking at us and making calls or texting. I could imagine it now “SOS. SOS. Portelos is here! Call the police, Call SCI, Call the NSA!” the response from the Principal, lawyer or whoever, might have been a blanket message to all first responders “DEFCON 5…I repeat we are at DEFCON 5!Code RED! Portelos is standing on public property and meeting with his constituents! He is exercising his rights! Can anyone see if he has a recording device,Bluetoothor even worse, a big yellow flag with a rattle snake on it bearing the words “Don’t Tread on Me”

Back at my rubber room cell, I dove head first into rereading the Common Core Standards. There is a great App for Android and iPhone. I started with 6th grade ELA. The words “College Ready” were everywhere and I thought to myself “Does college even make you ready for the real world” My STEM lab, that was dissolved, did for the most part prepare students for the real world. See, for just a fraction of what I taught (under Video Tutorials). Plenty of students, that graduated years ago, have told me my class created a spark, and that they pursue a career in what I taught them.

Reading the CCLS got me thinking about all the NYCDOE acronyms. I did a search and found this interesting file. Good to know.


I also did 30 push ups without stopping. Lunch is almost over and I have to get back to professionally developing myself. Enjoy your weekend.

147 Days Out September 19, 2012

So we are back from a 4 day weekend. I tried to spend more quality time with family. I have to be honest though and say that it is extremely difficult since, no matter what, my brain is always geared and focused on fighting this fight. Maybe I have to just embrace it and stop fighting it. After all, some of my best ideas come to me at the most random times like red lights, walking up a flight of stairs, sitting in the rubber room or right when I wake up.

Today I read a bunch of literature on NYC DOE Conflict of Interest. ( A year ago I had contacted COIB in order to make sure what I wanted to do was within the guidelines and rules. Even now as I read the notices and regulations, I do not see any violation on my part. Violations committed by others is a sure thing, based on what I read.

During lunch, I extracted this picture and added text. I thought it was very symbolic. It’s taken the morning I was removed from school 147 days ago. How did I get it Let’s just say the majority of the school knows whats happening and I was warned before I walked in because more people want me to succeed than they do the principal. Therefore, the camera was ready.

I also watched some youtube videos on updates for some programs I used to teach. Might as well professionally develop myself. Again, it’s sad that countless students lost out on, and continue to lose out on, a quality education. See below what I taught and what I would have taught this year. MR. PORTELOS’ STEM ASSIGNMENTSWho needs to learn STEM anyway Apparently not the kids in the neighboring housing projects!

The remainder of this week will be busy.

Tomorrow I have my Step 2 Grievance in Manhattan. See posts (I call a bluff.Im all in [pushing chipsforward]) and (The GrievanceGame)

Friday is my first meeting for federal lawsuit. I have a good feeling about it. Lawyer up!

148Days Out September 20, 2012

Today was a short stay in the Rubber Room aka conference room 307. I had a Step 2 Grievance at the Office of Labor Relations at 51 Chambers Street. This was for their violation to CR 770 and moving me 20 miles away. Again, it was stated, by the admin rep, that there were “serious” allegations that caused me to be removed. When my union rep and I were trying to read these “serious” allegations to them, the chancellors rep was not interested. When I shared an email from my supervisor stating that she was not involved in my reassignment, they stated that she may still have reported misconduct. They told me I should not want a disciplinary hearing to add to my case. I disagreed and read an email to the superintendent requesting to face my accusers. I’m working on a new post called “Discipline Me”. In the meantime here are some pictures.




149 Days Out September 21, 2012

No rubber room today. First meeting for federal court

Portelos v. DOE/Linda Hill

I held a union meeting outside of school and now running on pure adrenaline!

BIG victory today at Federal Court. Judge ruled not to stay discovery. In other words, Principal Hill, former chapter leader, former SLT chairperson and other DOE employees on the stand and under oath! They woke a sleeping giant!

Don’t Tread on Me!

152 Days Out September 24, 2012

I’m still flying high from Friday’s court decision. I’ve been thinking of who to bring to the stand and what to ask. If you can believe it, I found more financial misconduct today. It was by accident too. It’s unbelievable how deep and high this goes. Hence why I’m still in the rubber room while the villains are still at their positions.

In other news I had my first budget class in my Leadership in Education course. Can you imagine my excitement when I walked in to see the first slide of the presentation titled “SLT view of Budget” I can’t wait to do my assignment.

I can’t believe the lies continued at my Step 2 Grievance on Thursday. Gary Laveman continued to perpetuate the less about my so called misconduct. He said I was removed based on “serious” allegations. When we tried reading these “serious” allegations we were told, by Chancellor’s Rep Alan Lichtenstein, that the allegations were not important. They were important enough to be mentioned by the admin rep. I showed two emails where my supervisor at Petrides stated she had “no involvement in my reassignment”. That too was not good enough. I showed them an email I sent to Superintendent Erminia Claudio where I’m practically begging to have a disciplinary hearing. No response. I even told them that the lies told at the Step 1 from HR Connect Director Andrew Gordon, us being investigated by Courtnaye Jackson-Chase of OGC and invigorated into my federal complaint. I laughed inside when Mr. Laveman stated that at Petrides I could sit and read the newspaper, but instead I wandered around the complex. Still no proof could be furnished. I told them the “burden of proof” lies on the DOE, not me.

Still looking for the connection between Principal Hill and those who protect her at TWEED and the CFN. Rumor has it that Chancellor Walcott and Principal Linda Hill went to the same elementary school. That would be interesting. I also heard the Principal Hill’s attorney is Marisol Vasquez, esq. who may be a colleague of Joseph Baranello esq. Mr. Baranello runs the FOIL unit where I request all my public documents pertaining to Principal Linda Hill. That too would be interesting.

I can’t believe this new found talent they unlocked in me. I’m like Columbo. “Oh just one more question…”

153 Days Out September 25, 2012

I received an email from UFT VP of Special Ed, Carmen Alvarez, stating there is a professional development on Oct 4 and 5 for Special Ed Reform. I requested to go and was told by my supervisor at the rubber room” As a re-assigned staff, you are not eligible to attend any PD.” Can you believe how broken this system is I cannot get educated because I’m alleged to have made lights blink in a classroom So I read some info online. Wake up taxpayers. Email and tell him what you think.

In other news, the DOE really likes my blog lately.

And finally Warrengate Files Unleashed was published

Oh and if you ever want to serve a federal law suit to the principal who tried to ruin your family and career, you have to do it right (Don’t Tread on Me shirt)

155 Days Out September 27, 2012

Today was all about learning all the features of my new Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone. Theft of service No. The DOE pays me and I’m a tech teacher. I consider that my own professional development. Besides, like I said before, the Office of Labor Relations stated I could “read the newspaper”. I thought it would be better for the taxpayer if I read a tech manual instead. I have a programmer working on an iPhone and Android app for Faceshop.mehttp://, but that and real estate I put off until lunch or later. Speaking of real estate, I just snagged a $750,000 commercial property on Bay St. Call me after 3:20pm though. 🙂

In other news, my Warrengate post really, made some waves. Call me Poseidon. Those in charge are letting this ship sink. Therefore, I just booked a meeting place for an SOS (Save our School) community outreach on Oct. 8th at 8pm. Also creating a fact and data based website called (coming soon)

156 Days Out September 28, 2012

A pretty blah day. Uneventful. Started reading a new book. Shot out a couple of tweets and made some calls. If I can read a newspapers in the Rubber room, can I alsowrite as well If I can write and have conversations with people near me, then can’t I tweet as well Regardless…I’d rather be teaching. Right about now I would be educating the middle school kids about Photoshop. I remember a CFN visitor looking at my students professional Photoshop work on my bulletin board last year and saying “I’m not a tech person, but that looks like down time work to me.” What Professionals use Photoshop. SMH.

Still no response from anyone, including UFT, on why I can’t attend professional development, the SLT meetings, the Safety Meetings etc. I wanted to attend the Chapter Leader training weekend, but my wife can give birth at any time. For you local Staten Islanders, please pass around the info for the OccupyWarrenStreet meeting at the Vanderbilt Moravian YMCA center on October 8th at 8PM.Enjoy your weekend.

159 Days Out October 1, 2012

“Like sands through the hourglass…so are the days of our lives.” Everyday that I’m here, countless students are not experiencing my engaging and quirky method of teaching . In the end, they will lose more than the average taxpayer. Again, it’s costing at least $500 a day to have me here, but with all legal fees and investigations I surmise it is over $1,000 a day.

Over the weekend, I put together and started a new movement. I emailed about 100 community parents and am working on flyers and signs for local businesses. I’m also spreading word around via Twitter and Facebook. You gotta love social media.Like a small snowball rolling down a mountain, I have picked up speed, power and size. I am holding a meeting in a week with community members. It may be 5 of us or it may be 500. Time will tell. Like I told my principal many months ago…”I’m not going anywhere.” I’m a community parent and my sons will not be going to a school ranked 939 out of 1,124 if I could do something about it. The NYC Progress Report just came out and Berta Dreyfus IS 49 just dropped to a “C”. Not good. In addition I filed some grievances and created Whose idea was it to take me out of the classroom again I love this online grievance system for Chapter Leaders. I wonder if someone else won the election if these grievances would have been submitted.

160 Days Out October 2, 2012

A very quiet day. Spent a lot of time reviewing the Progress Reports and cross referencing it to other schools with similar demographics. I sent out a bunch of emails to support the cause and consulted with some fellow rubber roommate. I really have to get that “How to -A survival guide” section up on my site. Every time I hear about an abusive administrator my heart beats fast and my blood boils. Seriously. I’m a very calm guy, but the e-mails I get and stories I hear make me want to focus more on protecting the good educators. Is there a “Pit bull” position at the UFT Ring ring… “Yes Mr. Portelos We have a call that an AP from PS 555 is abusing a new untenured teacher and pushing out another who doesn’t want to retire. Can you take care of that ” – “I’m on it. I need names so I can FOIL their records. I’ll try diplomacy first though, as always.”

I’m actually going to be an administrator. When I told Gary Laveman, of the Office of Labor Relations, that he may be representing me one day, he turns and says “I hope you don’t have a union guy like you on your staff”.

161 Days Out October 3, 2012

Wow, today flew by. I was so entrenched in my work that I missed 20 minutes of lunch. I spoke to some new people and a acquired new information. Can’t share. Actually won’t share. The tricky part now is that with the Federal lawsuit under way, I can’t show the other side ALL my future moves. I’m happy with my new connections. Heard an interesting rumor, but it could be just that…a rumor.

Did someone at the network office try and scratch out my bumper sticker That’s what it looked like. See the top


162 Days Out October 4, 2012

Ok, so this was unexpected. Back over the summer I came up with some plans on how to break out of the Rubber Room and get back in the class. Being that diplomacy was not working with the chancellor, mayor and a dozen politicians and DOE officials ignoring my emails and appeals, I posted this onJuly 13th -Preparing fo rteh Rubber Room in September.In that post I threw in a slight mention of live video streaming my day. I kind of forgot about it or put it on the back burner…until today.

I went into my usual “solitary confinement” location where I have been placed in room 307 of 8201 Rockaway Blvd. I propped up my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, hotspot my Samsung Galaxy S3 (product placement) and opened up app. I entered the name “NYC Rubber Room Live”, clicked share and that was it. What happened next took me by surprise. The tweets were picked up and viewership increased. retweeted it to over 7,000 people and the taxpayer was now getting a live inside view of me sitting there….do nothing. When I say “nothing” I mean respective to what I should be doing, which is teaching. I was actuallyreorganizingmy papers and reading up on the latest in education and my contract (that has been violated over and over again). That is what I do every day. I educate myself.

Next thing I know I get emails from the NY Post and Daily News. Reporters and photographers are waiting for me outside at the end of the day and by the end of the evening, a NY1 reporter was doing an interview in my living room.

163 Days Out October 5, 2012

And then things got crazier than I could have imagined. Right as my alarm goes off, our house phone rings. Our house phone is backup and we never use it. I pick up and it is Stephen Cohen from Good Day NY. On my way in to the Rubber Room I do a phone interview with Richard Price and Rosanna Scotto. Two people I used to watch every morning as I got ready for school. I miss Jim Ryan by the way. I believe the media originally took this story as tax dollars wasted by teachers and poor policy, but the story laterunraveled to a case of retaliation and deceit. The taxpayer has been lied to again and the students have been placed dead last. This is a story ofretaliationand corruption of high magnitude. I am the “Man in the Iron Mask” and locked up in a tower. Innocent.

So after the phone interview, 2 newspaper articles, NY1 interview and statements from the DOE that these Rubber Rooms do not exits, I expect to be tackled as I enter the building. Nope. Nothing. I looked around the corner for big guys in suits. I checked under the conference room table for bugs. Nothing. I even went upstairs to check in and not a word. Sooo……I streamed again. This time I used my phone. Again I felt that I was not violating any policy or regulation. On the other hand the DOE has over 300 lawyers, so we’ll see what they can come up with. I could not believe that I was streaming again. The viewership increased by countless numbers and the emails and phone calls were pouring in. 1010 Wins, Fox 5, Channel 11 WPIX, NBC 4, Univision in Miami, CBS Channel 2, Channel 7 Eyewitness news, NPR etc. I was not ready for this, but I am ready for this.

Google News Search Francesco Portelos

Finally…after months of screaming at the top of my lungs and posting on, the story is out and trending.

[Three Day Weekend]

167 Days Out October 9, 2012

What a crazy weekend. My wife is about to birth another future public school child and has had it. This labor coincides with the timeline of my saga. The closer we came to the birth, the crazier things got with work. I’m nowhere near done fighting and am running on full battery. Now my support numbers grew exponentially and my website, that contains facts about the story, has received thousands of hits in just 3 days.

I walked in to the reassignment center anddefinitelyexpected a group of commandos strategically taking out all my electronic devices. (Maybe even my decoy dummy phone) Nope. Went back up and squeezed about 50 seconds of stream when I am summoned upstairs to speak with the CFN 211 network leader. I’m given 2 large science textbooks and some lesson templates. I am told I will be creating lesson plans for the sub back at school. The news is bittersweet. Anything less than returning to my STEM lab, purging my file of all negative documents is unacceptable to me. I am verbally told that I cannot bring computer equipment into the building and should leave the laptop and tablet in the car.

I was only able to do very little work on these lesson plans as I had a meeting with the Office of Special Investigations at 65 Court Street in Brooklyn. DOE headquarters.

See here: 65 Court Street Video

168 Days Out October 10, 2012

No reassignment facility today. Considering the increase in public interest, I won’t get into specifics. Let’s just say sick day. The UFT did however tell me that they “aredemandingthat I be returned back to my classroom.” Let’s see what the DOE says. We are all waiting for a response ANDspecificson how I was “extremely difficult” and about these serious allegations. When has the DOE ever been this vague

170 Days Out October 12, 2012

I still feel like I’m running in place. I was given the task of creating lessons for the substitute covering my 150 6th and 7th grade students. Good, however they are insisting that I create 8th grade science lessons. I tried to explain that there have been 4 substitutes and those children are really behind, but they insist I stick to 8th grade plans. Does this make sense

Still no word from the DOE. I wonder if they are trying to find my 5th grade report card. Speeding tickets Photos from Greece circa 1998 In the mean time my Federal case looks even stronger now and the emails of support, from around the country, are pouring in. Don’t Tread on Educators….the message has been getting out.

173 Days Out October 15, 2012

Getting 8th grade lessons done, but

174 Days Out October 16, 2012

Put lipstick on a pig and you still have a pig. Take a teacher in the reassignment center and give them busy work and it’s still a Rubber Room.

I recorded this during lunch. Daily News had a bad article, but Staten Island Advance had a much better article.

175 Days Out October 17, 2012

Today I am in the the reassignment center 7 days past the 60 day time limit set by the DOE/UFT April 15, 2010 Agreement. I am filing a grievance and calling everyone tomorrow. First Delegate Assembly of the year. I have a newly elected delegate from school and am happy that I have more staff members getting involved. I came home late and found the DOE/Principal Hill sent me 6 boxes of my things from school. I only asked for my things 175 days ago. Maybe it’s because I have a Small Claims court case against them October 18, 2012 (In Two Days). The material they sent me is not everything, so to court we go(See List).

176 Days Out October 18, 2012

Really wasn’t feeling well in conjunction with bad night. I was going to call in Sub Central to send a substitute to the Rubber Room and do 8th grade lessons for my 6th and 7th grade classes. I decided against it.

Tomorrow, October 19th, my lovely wife and I are expecting our second son. I promised her I will fly under the radar for awhile as this fight is very time consuming. I’ll resurface again soon…..

181 Days Out October 23, 2012

Today went unusually slow. I passed around some cigars to fellow rubber room inmates to celebrate the birth of my son Anastasio Sebastian Portelos. Mom and son are doing great.

Network personnel came down to check on my “lessons”. They collected what I had and I was told to continue with other units. Again I questioned why I’m doing 8th grade lessons for a 6th and 7th grade substitute. They couldn’t answer. Ridiculous Busy work

I’m starting a new mini series going over the ridiculous allegations against me. I’ll be creating videos during lunch.

182 Days Out October 24, 2012

I continued these “busy work” 8th grade lessons only to hear that my actual substitute at school needs lesson plans. I’m not blaming him, but imagine that…..he needs 6th and 7th grade lessons and I’m doing 8th grade lessons. What a travesty!! I get a little nauseous when I go to the site and see the motto Children First.Always.

Here is Part One of a mini series where I go over one ridiculous allegation a day.

Watch “DOE’s Bogus Allegations against Portelos Part 1” on YouTube –

183 Days Out October 25, 2012

I can’t get my head around how the education of students means nothing to those responsible for educating! These officials should be arrested for educational neglect.

Made video part 2 during lunch today. Check it out. I also added some music up top that I thought was fitting for this Rubber Room saga. “Life in a Shoebox”

Watch “DOE’s Bogus Allegations against Portelos Part 2”

Days Out 184 to 195 November 6, 2012

I’ve been out of the Rubber Room, for over a week, due to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. NYC was hit hard and even more so, my home town of Staten Island. I volunteered as much as I could at shelters, by driving around with the little gas I have left, giving out water and food and just overall assistance at relief centers.
We were to report back to “work” Friday November 2nd and Monday November 5th. I filled an appeal for both days as waiting on hour long lines was not an option. Even last night I counted over 56 cars waiting for gas and another 50 with red containers.
Today is election day and 195 days since I was removed. 195 days and over a month since I live steamed and the public was told I was “extremely difficult” to work with. Still no detailed answers from the DOE. How was I difficult What are the allegations Time to dig into my digital arsenal again.
I’m getting texts from teachers around Staten Island who are volunteering today instead of sitting at PDs. Not my school. I emailed my principal, the superintendent and network leader. My chapter members are sitting in meetings when many want to be out there volunteering.

202 Days Out November 13, 2012

What an exciting day today. I had been subpoenaed to testify at a case for the termination of a fellow teacher. I had inside information, that I heard, months ago that could help clear this man’s name. Many months ago a man told me he was an assistant principal and that he would “befriend teachers and then f—— them over”. Wasn’t quite sure why he told me this, but lo and behold, one of those teacher’s becomes my “Rubber Room” inmate. His story is different, but similar in that it was retaliatory circumstances that led him to where he is. So I sat and testified at my first 3020A hearing. They are held in small rooms like this:

Many teachers have probably been destroyed in this room.

I can’t go into the specifics, but it seemed the focus changed from the other teacher to “Get Portelos”. There were several times a recess was called and excerpts from my blog were printed out. It was interesting to experience and gave me even more confidence if they ever came at me with a termination hearing. They have made a lot of mistakes, but I don’t think they are ready for that one.

I was starstruck while at the 6th Floor of 49 51 Chambers Street (Office of Labor Relations (OLR)). I not only brushed shoulders with Theresa Europe (head of the Administrative Trials Unit), but also David Brodsky (Director of OLR). Two people who are heavily involved and have a hand in deciding the fate of 80,000+ teachers. I’m going again Friday for my own grievances on budget and union busting.

I found this picture of David here and that is how I recognized him. He seems like a nice enough guy. I wonder if he is puppet or puppeteer. Maybe he gives orders that come from above in which case how much can I blame him

<img class=”size-full wp-image-1102″ title=”David Brodsky” alt=”David Brodsky Office of Labor Relations NYC DOE” src=”” height=”353″ width=”211″ />David Brodsky Office of Labor Relations NYC DOE

210 Days Out November 21, 2012

Today is not only 210 calendar days out, but 100 actual school days. 100 days the students have lost out. Remember I was given “work” to do after I live streamed I have been creating 8th grade lessons plans for my 6th and 7th grade students using the high school textbooks they gave me. Today I told the network that I didn’t have the proper textbook for motion and forces. They said they will get them to me next week. Instead I read this book that I found on a shelf. Haven’t read this in 26 years.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! I thought this picture was relevant to what I feel like.

215 Days Out November 26, 2012

Today is 101 school days. I finally got 6th grade textbooks, but no one is telling me what unit the sub at school is up to. The students are on their 9th or 10th sub. I’m going to make contact with the parents again. It’s a travesty. I called everyone today…from UFT to DOE. Still no charges. Educational Guantanamo is what I call it. Heading to the union’s executive board to share my plight tonight. Let’s see what happens. This will be volatile week. I can tell as I was even denied my chapter leader prep period…crazy.

216 Days Out November 27, 2012

I enjoyed sitting in at the UFT Executive Board meeting last night. I spoke for a few minutes and just made more members aware of the fight out there and requested assistance. Today I continued to wait for an update from school about what lessons to begin with. No response. I don’t feel there was one day where my time in the Rubber Room helped my students back at school. It’s a shame. Tonight I will attend an Educators 4 Excellence event where Chancellor Walcott will speak. Perhaps I can speak to him for a few minutes and resolve this.

223 Days Out December 3, 2012

Chugging away at lesson plans that will probably go nowhere. Meeting new inmates. Found one guy I thought was working there for months is actually also reassigned. There are about 14 of us scattered. They just added two Hurricane Sandy victims. Can you believe that They had their lives turned upside down and then come into school only to be kicked out.

Last night I addressed the Community Education Council of Staten Island ( One of our past students designed the site. Pretty cool. I didn’t really get any positive feedback from sharing my story, but at least they got to see who I was.

*Dear Rubber Room Journal readers,
I know it’s been a while since I posted here. It’s not that I have been sent back to educating children, it’s just that my federal case has been moving forward and although I still blog, I don’t want to keep giving more detailed accounts of what happens day to day. Just know that it’s still the same old BS and the students and taxpayers are paying for it. Make, sure to register your email on the sidebar on the right, to be updated on latest posts.


  1. Pingback: Rubber Room Journal | Protect Portelos

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  4. Why 8 th grade science lesson plans

  5. You have done an excellent job and it seems your name comes up often as I speak to other ATR’s and even DOE people I meet in various schools.

  6. Pingback: UFT President Mulgrew and Chancellor Walcott to decide fate of some “Rubber Roomed” educators. | Protect Portelos

  7. What scares me, is that all these leaders and people know of your good work and you are a model teacher for any school to have and that our SLT problem are the same as other shore schools…..that is Suppose it make me feel OK with my school, that we share this problem plus our only Unique problems, unlike other shore schools, why couldn’t our school be told that the same problem Occurs in most all public schools But we as leaders want to help make this school a model for newness and help create a SLT to be Envy and model, for out of a school with such a Reputation should come Greatness. This school will not change it doesn’t have Community respect and leadership support, like the way SI came out to help our SI Sandy Families we help each other on SI, we make things change, by not addressing this long long problem with this school I hold little faith, I do not get a Salary or pension for my work, I have my children educational right to a free Appropriate Transparency Education to lose if I don’t get involved, but who am I-we to make corrective changes to better Transparency and Leadership from the Community and school.

  8. Please share this my friends, dyslexics can’t do this alone, we need the teachers to join us, …it’s to help them be better teachers and change the outcome of education for Dyslexics.

    Dyslexia -The Business

    By Laura Cavalleri

    I have recently been posting harsh felt comments about the public schools teachers’ role in not being able to teach to dyslexic students, which is unfair,

    I would like to Propose our current usage and Commodity of Dyslexics and Dyslexia.

    In higher education the study of dyslexia and dyslexics has provided it own Unique field of study for over fifty years now and is still growing strongly. The business and usage of grants funding to continue studying this difference in brain usage has those in the field jobs for life, (I don’t mind them studying dyslexics just let those study’s really help the whole population of dyslexics now).

    In society as we know it there are good guys and bad guys and we need Protection from bad guys. Well Who will be our most Recognizable bad guys Answer: Our public schools’ Drop Outs. This is a fact, Prisons are built based on this Equation, and the whole business of police, courts, judges, Correctional facilities, transportation and health care for these individuals is all tied up in a dyslexic student dropping out of public school. And these students do so because they were ashamed and not understood by their teachers and worst not helped by their teachers who weren’t taught how to teach Dyslexic Students in teachers college, ( now there’s where we can add new business growth). Dyslexics can be great leaders, and people will follow them, like Rex Ryan head Coach of the NY Jets or George Washington Father of our nation by popular vote, to the best and greatest Entrepreneur and Businessmen and women in the world, or a public school drop out turned gang leader on the streets of Chicago.

    To the idea that only some Dyslexics are Privileged enough to be enrolled into Private Schools for just only dyslexics with all the Wealths and benefits that only private schools can afford and Indulge is a business and a Segregation of the haves and have nots. Why is it that many of these Private establishments that have been in Existence of a couple of decades have only been Exclusively for the few that can and not for all Dyslexics

    I am not Bashing the teachers but I am asking for their help, for it will be because of their support and love to teach and not to be failures themselves as teachers; but to learn as our teachers how to teach dyslexics; that it is with the greatest of hope and the strongest of pleas I ask that Teachers support Dyslexics students, support yourselves and help help change the society statement that for Decades that has been The Business of Dyslexia.

  9. Hi I have been in the rubber in chicago for 3 months now.

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