What is the Rubber Room

Ever since I started blogging about this crazy saga I have had friends ask me “What is a Rubber Room” and “Are the walls covered in rubber” I guess they are valid questions because it is a strange term to most not familiar with it.To quote Parent AdvocateBetsy Combier, “The Rubber Room is not a place, but a process.” If you do a search, you will find plenty of articles stating that they “closed the infamous NYC Rubber Rooms.” Did they, or did they just break them apart and spread them throughout the city Rumor is that there are more reassigned educators this school year than ever. The witch hunt is in full gear now and there is no end in sight with the UFT blaming the Department of Education and vice versa. Again, the children are last. There are definitely educators sitting in rooms for months without charges. I repeat…WITHOUT CHARGES! I want to say something very noble about one of them, but he asked me not to. Maybe when this is over and we are both exonerated I will buy the rights from him for the movie. [inside joke]

As my friends and family can tell you, I can never just sit and do nothing. So in my Rubber Room I can’t sit with my head down, I won’t play Minesweeper, or Fruit Ninja. I have asked for work, but was told there is nothing for me right now. I do have an itch to go around running Windows updates on the Children First Network (CFN211) computers upstairs or check them for viruses. As I walked by one day to check in with my supervisor I think I saw anInternet Explorer 6 icon from 11 years ago and got a littlenauseous. I hope I was wrong. They might still be using Microsoft Office 2003 as well. I’m not blaming anyone but they have a techie just sitting down in the basement. I even emailed the network leader and cluster leader offering my services.


From:Francesco Portelos<fportelos@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, May 7, 2012 at 10:46 AM
Subject: Email to Charles Amundsen Cluster Leader
To: Francesco Portelos

Dear Mr.Amundsen,
I am a STEM teacher in a school supported byCFN211 within your cluster. I am going for my administrator’s license and will have it by 2013. I was looking over yourwebsiteand would like to know how I can get more involved. For the last 5 years atBertaDreyfusIS 49 I held many informal PD’s before school, after school and during lunch periods. In addition I was selected by Principal Linda Hill to hold several formal PDsto turnkey the latest in educational technology to the staff. The results have been amazing.
I’m a Polytechnic University engineering graduate who took a $20,000 cut in salary to educate the youth of NYC in 2007. Unfortunately, since I started investigations pertaining to alleged financial misconduct as well as sexual misconduct by the school’s administrators, it is “I” who sits reassigned in the basement of 8201RockawayBlvd. What support can I give while I await my charges and what support can I expect from my network



From:Mr. Portelos<mrportelos@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, May 4, 2012 at 9:51 AM
Subject: Support please
To: jmckeon3@schools.nyc.gov

Good morning Ms. Mckeon,

My name is Francesco Portelos and I am an educator from R049 in your network. I have been recently reassigned to 8201 Rockaway Blvd. I thought maybe I can receive some support while I’m here, if that is ok. I believe Edward Hui had also sent some issue with the SLT and CEP to you as well.

I also get the sense that I make employees here very uncomfortable. I’m new to this feeling as I consider myself a man of character and integrity and one of the nicest guys in the world. Any support is appreciated.

Thank you.

Mr. Portelos


No response, but I am sure with many schools under their supervision they have a lot on their plate.

Ever since I was reassigned, they don’t want me anywhere near DOE computers. I heard that the first day. I am the only one out of all the other teacher’s to receive this detailed notice of rules below:

I assure you I am no hacker and my friends from college probably read this and think it’s funny. [Pay no attention to the Bluetooth earpiece].

So what to do here while I wait my charges and have no work assigned to me There have been a few occasions where I look up at the sprinkler pipes and thought “I should just do pull ups every day and work out like Sarah Connor in the insane asylum in Terminator 2. I mean I have lost about 17 pounds since they started their attacks in January. I had to buy a new belt. Might as well get fit. Again…sorry taxpayers. Just rest assured that I do not sleep and that my gears are working on finding a solution to make things right.

Wikipedia Explanationof Reassignment center.

Movie Trailer for Movie “The Rubber Room” 2008

A Video clip of Betsy and my attorney Bryan Glass explaining the current situation

Rubber Rooms‘ for Teachers Are Being Eliminated – NYTimes.comHmmm… then I must be in some other purgatory limbo place.

Comments are appreciated.

About Francesco Portelos

Parent and Educator fighting for the student and the teacher.
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  1. Your approach is fantastic. Keep up the good fight. The network people are not your friends. They are there to support your principal, not the teacher. This process has almost nothing to do with the truth. Someone just mentioned to me today that the rubber rooms no longer exist. Can our union tell us how many people are currently reassigned. Oh, this problem was already fixed. If you go back to the rubber room agreement, there are supposed to be strict timelines on the DOE so either you get charged or put back rather than linger. Of course there was plenty of wiggle room in the wording the DOE to not abide with their side. It appears nothing has changed and the reassignment centers are still be used by vindictive principals to get rid of people. What is our union doing about it Guess.

    • Tom,
      I wish our union officials were like pitbulls. They are not. I have been asking them for help from January. The local guys seem to be trying but have not won any battles at all yet.

  2. Keep on doing what you are doing!

  3. Alexander Pappas

    This is nonsense. In a time when our country is in more than desperate need for competent, and caring teachers, this principal has chosen to take a deliberate position to further weaken the education system. There seems to be something terribly wrong with her decision making processes and I suggest that she be professionally evaluated in order to determine her true competence to be in the position of school principal. She seems to be suffering from some form of jealousy and /or ignorance. There appears to be a major question with respect to her mental stability that certainly requires investigation by her superiors as her actions are not those of a stable personality. The students are in jeopardy under her watch!

    • Mr. Pappas,
      Thank you for your comment. It does not appear to be the principal only. As I am away from school and given time to research I find that there is a whole support network. Although this network is supposed to support with curriculum, security and other things for good, it appears that they are assisting in possible cover up. They made the mistake of putting me 3 floors below the network. I personally heard them talk about me on 2 occasions on my way to the 4th floor bathroom. They called my noble dedication and questions about community concerns “harassment” and instructed the principal to show my email to legal. I’m just saying this is way above my principal and I’m slowly following the puppet strings.

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