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S1E04: Are charter schools the most toxic workplaces?

When we first got Megan onto this podcast we were blown away by this story! It has so many elements to it we had to break it down for people to keep up! This episode is ALL about the Charter School System and to help us understand this better we have summarised some information for you regarding Charter Schools!

Are charter schools the most toxic workplaces EVER? When we first approached Megan to tell her story, we were blown away with the level of toxicity within the teaching profession. It honestly blew our minds and I am positive it will blow yours too! Charter schools in the United States are primary or secondary education institutions that are public schools which are publicly funded and operate independently, rather than being controlled by local school districts. Charter schools have a contract with local school districts or other authorizing bodies which allow them to operate. In a new york times article they spoke about how charter schools didn’t have experianced teachers and that was highlighted by Megan in the first minutes about the in-experienced teachers she dealt with! https://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/08/us/study-finds-charter-schools-lack-experienced-teachers.html there were tons of other articles when you google “toxicity in charter schools” like that there are pitfalls in systematic leadership, administration is a shambles and much more! https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/20/a-dozen-problems-with-charter-schools/ – This washington post article rightly so – highlighted some massive issues in charter schools! https://www.shondaland.com/act/a19449580/charter-schools/

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Oh yeah.Speaker 2: 53:32

All these different shirts. No, that was the other Brian. That was T-shirt Brian Oh.Speaker 1: 53:37

T-shirt Brian. Oh my God, yeah, brian with the insurgents was very funny.Speaker 2: 53:41

Yeah, um, we had the lady with four million jobs. Do you remember that one Mm? hmm, i know Where she had like what was it Like? 47.Speaker 1: 53:54

Like her first. Like her first line out of the box was like I’ve had 46 jobs in the past 30 years and we’re like what.Speaker 2: 54:05

We’ve got Amy, who talks to us about toxic positivity, which is pretty cool, and then we had Stu, who was our most recent recording, yeah, talking about leadership, which I’m pretty bloody excited about.Speaker 1: 54:20

And now so we’ll be doing some more interviews, but also sprinkling in some of the research episodes.Speaker 2: 54:25

Yeah, and then we’ll be doing some research episodes is going to like is our next kind of step right? That’s our evolution.Speaker 1: 54:33

And we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what you guys like more And if you have any comments, thoughts, reactions, just reach out to us.Speaker 2: 54:39

Yeah, We really appreciate everybody’s comments. Yeah, We’ve had. I just, I just get so excited when someone comments, So if you could comment like like subscribe, share follow all those good things. Come join us on LinkedIn. Come join us on.Speaker 3: 54:55

Instagram, yeah, yeah Find us a good place.Speaker 4: 54:57

We’d be happy to have you.Speaker 2: 54:59

And we’ll see you in season two. Couple weeks, yeah, yeah, a couple weeks. Thank you for joining us today. If you would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you.Speaker 1: 55:10

Also, leaving a review helps us create more content because it shows us there’s an interest in this topic.Speaker 2: 55:16

For those of our listeners who do better with reading, we have closed caption available on YouTube.Speaker 1: 55:20

See you next week, same time and same place.

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Transcript

We had a bit of a struggle with this transcript as the transcriber assumed Gina and I were the same person and that Megan was new – So we apologise for that and will try find a better transcription service!

[00:01:00] GINA So let me see what the prompts are here. Are you excited? I am. Not even my therapist knows about a few of the things I’m going to talk about, so.

[00:01:09] Speaker 2 Oh, you see.

[00:01:12] GINA I know, I know. We all have, like, PTSD, so, like, you probably do. But you know what? That’s cool.

[00:01:18] Nicola Yeah, we’ve got PTSD.

[00:01:20] GINA We absolutely have PTSD. We’re already doing way better than we expected, though. I think your story is going to kind of bring it over the edge because it is so fucking juicy. It’s I know I was thinking about like the step on SNL thing where he’s like, it’s got everything, it’s got the police, it’s got lawyers, it’s got cyber bullying. When I was filling out the document of the questions, it was like, what’s involved? And I’m like someone if I. With a car.

[00:01:50] Nicola Yeah.

[00:01:52] GINA Potential manslaughter. Like, I swear to God.

[00:01:55] Nicola Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. No, not spoiler alert. That’s for me. Because I can’t. I do not know that. Spoiler. I will come now.

[00:02:06] GINA Okay. Welcome to Let’s Break Up Toxic Workplace Stories. This is season one, Episode four. Very exciting. Today we have the pleasure of chatting with one of my most favorite people on the whole planet. Meghan and her story is a wild. It has got everything. And I think who I mean, I lived this through with you and through you, Meghan, so I already know all the spoilers, but do you want to just give a couple of big some fun words that will be coming up? Cops run over rioting, death threats, death threats, cyber bullying. So there was cyber bullying. Definitely. There was a whole Instagram without me. All right. So why don’t you tell us give us a little quick rundown of your background. Like, what is it that you do? How long have you been doing it and how long did you stay at this position that you’re going to walk us through? Okay, I’ve been a teacher for eight years now. Primarily. I used to do like mostly English, but now I’m into like math, science, all that stuff. Sixth grade is my spot that I like to teach most.

[00:03:11] Nicola All the sixth grade is for us international people.

[00:03:14] GINA Sixth graders are usually ten or 11 or my place so that we’re 30. It was in the heart of the worst area of New York. I would say, yes, it did pay well. And it was also in the worst area of New York City, not just New York, because to people who are not from the city, like me and Meghan, you say New York and they’re like, oh, where? And you obviously mean New York City. But other people will be like, Oh, we’re Utica, Albany. And you’re like, No, I’ve never even been there.

[00:03:43] Nicola These names mean nothing to me.

[00:03:46] GINA That’s cool. So the Americans and East Coast people, they’ll get it. Okay, so. Well, that’s okay. Nicola sent me a picture and it said Christchurch. I was like, Oh my God, he’s in a cult. And she’s like, No, that’s the city near me. Because I was like, Nicola, run! This is another course, please.

[00:04:04] Nicola Yeah, because Nicola.

[00:04:05] GINA Loves a good cult without knowing it.

[00:04:07] Nicola Yeah, I do love me a cult. Mm.

[00:04:10] GINA All right, So, Megs, tell us, what was the situation you’re in like when you started looking for this new job that you ended up getting into? Okay, so I was already working in New York City, I want to say was like sixth grade. I found that the best salaries you could get usually are in predominantly bad areas, but I hope the work is going to be longer and harder. How much.

[00:04:33] Nicola Longer? Like what’s the standard hour for you? Like what standard hours.

[00:04:36] GINA You even about? You got to be there at 7:00 AM. And if you’re Anya or if if you were late by 3 minutes late for a full half day. So what time? I came at 703 with my co teacher but I went to everything with and they were like, okay, you’re working back at 1130. And I’m like, No. So we have to work for Forgot It. So yeah, about 7 a.m. it starts at about 435 ish and you only get. One break a day. And on top of that, your commute was pretty intense. My commute was 3 hours combined on a good day. You were taking public transportation, so you would have to get up at like really early, like 435. So tell us when you first when there was the first red flag. No, the interview process was actually really great, but the interview was really good. I had like eight of the admin on a zoom with me. I do a demo thing. They were all about preaching family and community. Everything was good. So what was your first red flag? My first rep was so for that first year I worked here. It was all on Zoom and every morning had to be on Zoom. So first year was new, Second year was in first. First year, I was cool. I was doing like for my bed, for my office, whatever. That was the height of the pandemic. Yeah. So we had like morning meetings at like 655 in the morning. So 5 minutes for the students arrived. Our principal at the time, she could never figure out how to open the zoom and then blame everybody and say, you guys weren’t in there. And you’re all just like, what are you talking about? And then we realized she’s definitely a little bit crazy because she would open up the zoom for everybody to already be mid-song. And then one time stupid zoom just for me, did not let anyone else in the waiting room. Just me. I just wanted to talk and show me her house. Anyway.

[00:06:13] Nicola I was there. What was her house like? Was it cluttered? It was nothing.

[00:06:18] GINA Extra. It was like. Right. Nothing to write home about. I was like, That’s cool. So that’s your kitchen, Like, so gym.

[00:06:24] Nicola Like dildos out on the table? Oh.

[00:06:27] GINA No, nothing weird. Except another time she did Zoom call me and she wanted me to show me her son. That was like 19 or 20. And you could tell he didn’t want to be in the camera. And he was like, shirtless. And I was like, So that’s your son. You look like him. It was very I felt so uncomfortable with this woman. The craziness that was her in general. Was she what I found out later on, she would pull people back from the Zoom meetings and be like, I have a question ask. Don’t tell me, you know. And she would ask them to stick me in her book, like.

[00:06:57] Nicola Oh, I didn’t get to what? I’m sorry. What?

[00:07:01] GINA Okay. And this woman was on a little she’s like 45 short Puerto Rican woman, like all of complexion, dark hair. We look nothing alike.

[00:07:09] Nicola Well, describe yourself a little bit because people can’t see you on the podcast.

[00:07:13] GINA You are gorgeous. You know, Meghan is like one of those pin up kind of girls.

[00:07:19] Nicola Like, she’s got great teeth, great surfing. I noticed they aren’t great hair.

[00:07:25] GINA She’s had music videos done about her now. So just how does one get so many music videos people have done about me?

[00:07:34] Nicola Like people? Yeah, fuck off.

[00:07:36] GINA But I guess I should hold people back from the Zoom calls. I’d like three or four people. She would ask me to, who went on to become one of my best friends who was my co teacher at the time. She would ask, Do you think we are look alike? Do you think you know? But her hair was kind of like mine when she curls about like very, very she’s making people comfortable to the point that they were like, we don’t know why she’s telling us not to tell you. And then about a month later after that, she came in to work on Zoom, had red straightened hair and green contacts.

[00:08:04] Nicola To talk to me like.

[00:08:04] GINA Yours. Did she? What? Did she get tattoos like yours? No, but she did tell me what time.

[00:08:11] Nicola Wait, So now she’s mimicked your image. She’s like, hand herself to you. What?

[00:08:16] GINA Yes. I feel like single white female vibe, so I actually might still have the text on her on my phone. She got my number a while ago, and she can just leave me very strange voicemails. And at one point message she messaged me a picture of me, her and my teacher, and cropped my old teacher out. You could still see her arm around me like it was just me and her, She said, like three times in a row after she left. Oh, okay. So she left after your first year? I was still teaching there.

[00:08:44] Nicola Or was she okay? Was it like an insecurity thing or was it like an obsession thing?

[00:08:49] GINA I think I don’t want to be like, Oh, I don’t want to be like, Oh, yeah, she’s obsessed me. But like, it was very single white female at times. And the day I actually met her was the last day of school. We all had to go to the feel that officially meet our kids and she was there and she was like, Megan, get my car. She drove. I swear on my dog’s life. She drove onto the field in like her BMW, and it’s like, Megan, get into the car call. Did you stupidly get into the car? I did. She ask because I had.

[00:09:19] Nicola Want you with candy into it, you know.

[00:09:22] GINA But she just kept saying, like me, get in the car repeatedly. And I’m the type of person that, like, it’s got to be a good story. So let’s do it. If it means I might almost die, like, let’s do it. Like, I don’t like things like that. Like I’m not a thrill seeker, but I was also like, I need to know what this is about. This is crazy. Curiosity killed the cat, but she was like, Get my car. She drives over. Everyone’s like, What the hell is this? I mean, she’s like, making get my car. So I literally went like this to my house, each other, she knows. And she was like, I’m not going to get in the car. Please get the car. And I was like, Oh, good story. And she was like, okay, got it. So we get her car, I’m in the passenger seat. My co teacher is in the backseat, and she starts telling me like. And I just want you to know, I know there are reports about me. I’m not a homophobic. I love the gay community. I’m not sexist. I’m not racist. Weird stuff. We all I’ve heard none of these rumors. I think she just, like, wants to preach that she’s a good person to me. So did she. Did she think that you were a lesbian? It’s very possible. Oh, is it? Usually when I go to, like, a job, I. So I learned the hard way where, like, I don’t usually keep any of my personal information. I thought that it just gave me that advice. You know, when it comes to things like that, I’m always like, Yeah, I you know, it’s true. You’re like, Let me channel my inner Gina. Yes. It’s like it’s none of your business, but she know nothing about me, so it’s very possible. But then she said the weirdest thing, which was I have more to say to you, but I can’t because we have a witness to the car. And then slowly turned around to my teacher, my teachers like, Hi, I’m here. My name is. Mhm. And she’s like, Oh yeah, I know you’re there. That’s why I can’t say anything. What? Yes. So she drives us back to the school and we get out and she’s like.

[00:11:01] Nicola So just to confirm, this is your manager.

[00:11:03] GINA This is my boss. It’s the principal of the entire school. Right. So she’s basically you directly report.

[00:11:10] Nicola So you’re kidnaped at this point. Are you kidnaped in the crappy.

[00:11:14] GINA Word I love to use? I didn’t want to say it when me and my old school teacher talk. We’re always like, we’re going to talk like it’ll be seven in the morning and we’ll both be at work and I’ll be like, Hey, remember when we were kidnaped? And she’s like, Yep, And that’s our conversation. So we get out of the car and she’s doing something in the office. What? Okay, we’re going to walk back. Meanwhile, it was and Neptune, it was like 88 degrees out in the middle of March.

[00:11:35] Nicola So what’s that like 20, 20 something degrees Celsius?

[00:11:39] GINA Yes, it was hot. Really hot is. Yeah. So we were like, I’m going to walk back people. I’m already sweating from be on the car for 2 minutes and get back to the car. Get back in the car. So we get back in the car. And then she was like also like, you know, like nothing’s wrong. I’m not like a bad person. Keeps preaching her case and then said the weirdest thing was like, it’s not like I like, you know, embezzle money from the school or anything and then just proceeded back maniacally at her own joke. A.K.A confession guru Sweet time out. Did any of that end up surfacing in real life? Like was she embezzling? Was she saying sexist? Any any kind of did anything actually come of that? Yeah. Eventually came out that she was homophobic.

[00:12:25] Nicola So she was eventually just projecting.

[00:12:28] GINA So that exact day where she was like trying to be strategic and get into your ear. Yeah, it’s exactly like control the narrative. Yeah, it’s very possible. I mean, I think she was scared. I heard something. She didn’t want me to think anything, so. Okay, so that was the first red flag. And that was after being there for a year, correct? Yes, This was my first year.

[00:12:48] Nicola Okay, So we’ve been here for a year. You’ve been Zoom teaching because hashtag COVID life. And also my kudos to teachers during COVID place. That was rough. Like that was tough times.

[00:13:00] GINA You handled it really well, Meghan.

[00:13:03] Nicola You’ve taught you’ve taught for a year. You’ve done it all mainly online. You haven’t really dealt with all these people. And this is like the first time everybody’s getting together after.

[00:13:13] GINA And that’s when you got kidnaped and then you.

[00:13:15] Nicola Get kidnaped on the first day. Yes.

[00:13:18] GINA So I get out of the car, she rushes back over like that, Like where the bags basically like over the grass drops me off. My teacher only says goodbye to me, not her. It’s wild because I’ve never met any of these people. They were looking at me and my teacher like, What did you go and talk to her about? You know what I mean? It felt like I was like a rat. So it kind of set you up for failure because people probably thought that you had like some sort of in with this person, what, 90%? Yes.

[00:13:43] Nicola Where in reality that like, essentially kidnaped your on the first day.

[00:13:48] GINA So I already had I didn’t she was crazy. And then it turned out she was fired, I think because those rumors came like they weren’t actually true. I think the majority of your story, though, takes place in your second year. Right. And you’re actually person. Yes. And this principal is sort of involved with that, too, because she doesn’t write. She comes back, she makes a cameo. Folks, I had to eventually change my number, actually for a few reasons. But her. So she starts teaching other school. She will not stop calling me and offering me the world, so don’t teach with her. So which I was like, no. So anyway, so I start my second year in person and I, Michael, teach you together again in person. It was lovely. We had this crazy I don’t even describe him. He was in charge of students with behavioral problems.

[00:14:33] Nicola Okay. Which is an admirable role that I’m to take.

[00:14:36] GINA I don’t guidance counselor kind of. He made more money than God, like as much money as the principals. So our principals at the time were two teachers who only worked two years combined, and they became the principals. So they were teachers who became principals, which sounds good in reality. Like when I first heard that, I was kind of like, All right, that one much experience. But they know what it is to be a teacher in the trenches like so they’ll it not to make it about us. Nicola But that’s that was very similar. Our situation where Nicole and I had a witness then are the people who were reporting to. Well, I can see you’re making this decision, but I know because I’ve lived through that this is going to backfire. It’s kind of that kind of thing.

[00:15:12] Nicola And you almost have to take. You almost have to feel a little bit sorry for those people because they they don’t have the capacity to make the right decisions yet.

[00:15:21] GINA Exactly. But you know what? The thing is for me, it’s it’s a matter of like, if you don’t know how to do it, then learn it. Right. Like, you have to ask for help. Right. You give it. You’re given this big salary increase, give a full summer to figure it out. And also, if you don’t feel like you’re up to it, then don’t do it because the people that will suffer are the people under you, and most importantly, the students. Yeah, and the two people who were the new principals, two women, they were all just bad attitude. It’s just when I first heard I was because I knew I knew it was going to be bad for me. So just like to speed up like this year was a wild and I only lived it through phone calls and face times and so on and so forth. But I remember, I remember I mean, it is insanity. So I think you should just buckle up right now, everyone. So. So what was the first thing that happened your second year that you were like, hold up? I mean, the kids were crazy as usual, but that’s normal. I could deal with crazy children, crazy adults. So I had the guy in charge of kids and behavior. He thought he was like, I thought he was an up and coming rapper. But really he just had like two songs on SoundCloud, which were the worst things I’ve ever heard. And one of them was a rap about the school, and he would play it over the loudspeaker every day, apparently, and he would just like walk. He had the craziest outfits like lime green matching three piece suits. He come in with like a bedazzled top hat. No one said anything. I felt like me and my coach teacher, we felt like we were crazy, like no one else saw it. All the women were obsessed with him. He was hooking up with three people at the same time at her.

[00:16:53] Nicola Job at the at the workplace. So he’s banging three people then are coworkers.

[00:16:59] GINA And one of them went crazy and screamed at him in the hallway because she found out every day came in just like, what’s going to happen to us? So he was So he was basically your first red flag for the second? Yeah, definitely. Other than the lack of inspiration and control. Yes. So, yeah, this is what happened. So it was the week following. I had my hair in braids and me and my teacher dressed alike or whatever, and he was like, I’m gonna take a picture of you guys and took the picture of us. And it took like 20 seconds up way too long. And, and it was just a picture of, like, me, basically. And then he sent it to me later and I was like, What’s up with people signing pictures of myself?

[00:17:35] Nicola Bizarre. Like, why are we why are we taking photos of you fiercely in like, unless it’s for a professional search, you’re like, Oh, are we sharing it in the school newsletter that you guys are like, cool.

[00:17:48] GINA With it on like the school Instagram? Okay, It was okay. So he’s he’s taking pictures of you. And that’s odd because he’s like in charge of all this and he’s technically a member of admin. So above me it was like, okay, if you just want a picture of me and my teacher, let’s do it. Let’s show some school spirit, whatever place of power. Key Okay, So all this time he would we all had each other’s numbers because if something happened, we had to like call upon Iman so randomly he would text and be like, looking good tonight, like compliments that I would ignore because it was so awkward. It would be like 930 in the morning. The moment like my math lesson, I would ignore it. I mean, my confusion was just like we didn’t see it our sometimes I’d be like, yeah, no. And like, alright, see in person I’d be like, you know, I’m not like, I’m with somebody or I’m not interested. I’ve had to say to him a few times, Did he ever, like formally ask you out or say like we should get together or anything like that? I don’t know. But one time I got like my period at school and I really needed like sweats or something. And he was in charge of athletics also because he made more money than God. And he took me downstairs into a room that he said have like, sweats and athletic gear. And he handed me a pair of these little, little short shorts like a third graders. And I was like, No, I need sweats. You said you had sweats. And then, sir, where are the sweats? Where are the sweat pants? I was promised so. And then he did this, like, weird thing where he, like, stood against the door and he was like, he was in, like, these track pants, like gray sweatpants, and, like, showed me that he was like, turn off.

[00:19:24] Nicola Like, he didn’t like whose stuff.

[00:19:26] GINA He didn’t show himself, but he, like, outlined it with his pants. And I was kind of like, wear those sweatpants. Did you tell anyone about this? The so the principal, one of them was head of h.R. Also. So everything I went to her went nowhere.

[00:19:42] Nicola Wild.

[00:19:44] GINA Yeah, but what did you hear?

[00:19:46] Nicola How they voting like that?

[00:19:48] GINA They wouldn’t have a this is like a school, like their rate. So, like, you would expect them to have even, like a part time h.r. Person. It was the principal.

[00:19:57] Nicola And that’s also okay. Now i’m like I’m. Thinking ahead now as well. And like, you know, in New Zealand and probably Australia as well, we’ve got a rule that if you were working with children or you are working with vulnerable people, you have got a police clearance, all of that important stuff. So like, is there none of these checks?

[00:20:19] GINA No, there are there there’s fingerprinting, things like that. And just to fast forward a tiny bit on this guy, I found out from a teacher who quit the year before, but I’m still working there. Zoom wise that he has changed his name. So what he uses as a pseudonym and he was arrested for kidnaping a child. So when this possession or during or after I found this out. Right. I was out at the and Saturday was happening about to get and do I found this out that he kidnaped his friend’s little girl. And SWAT had to come and knock on his door. So he went to a three piece suit and had his friends record it and spun the narrative, which was not the case. It was because he kidnaped the child. Do we know if the child was okay? Because I know when I listen to podcasts, like sometimes I’ll mention a dog or a child and I want follow up on that. Are they still like none of the kids? The kid was fine doing nothing, so he didn’t do anything. I mean, what he did was absolutely wrong, but he didn’t do anything further wrong with or to no case. His whole background was expunged somehow.

[00:21:29] Nicola You know. Oh, my God, How likely is the police appealing back like the deep underbelly of New York policing?

[00:21:36] GINA I don’t know. But I do know that his name is not his real name. I’ve since found out his real name. I did a lot of back I turning to Gina for this. And then I found out that the reason so him and the new principal who was head of H.R..

[00:21:52] Nicola They feel like we’re going to have to have, like, a diagrammatic representation with.

[00:21:56] GINA The organizational.

[00:21:57] Nicola Chart. Yeah, we need, like, an organized. We got to post an organizational chart to Instagram because, like, fucking hell. Like, I’m. I’m following this, but I’m curious to know how everyone else is going to follow this shit. I might call the.

[00:22:09] GINA Guy who’s in charge of behavior, Mr. X.

[00:22:12] Nicola Okay. Okay.

[00:22:13] GINA And then Mr. X’s name when you met him, was not his. His real name was certificate name.

[00:22:21] Nicola So technically, he’s Mr. X. Y? Yes.

[00:22:24] GINA Exactly right. So he was born Mr. X and then he changed it prior to coming to your school, To X, Y. Right. And the reason why he did it was because of this kidnaping. And I found out about him and the H our principal. We had Mrs. Krabs, we could call her. She they were friends. They were friends and they worked out like prior to taking the position, she was fired and a month later he was fired and she brought him on to this job, didn’t do fingerprinting on him because they knew that New York City would flag it.

[00:23:00] Nicola But now also he’s also dipping in a number of different vaginas with him. He’s very weak.

[00:23:06] GINA Appropriate.

[00:23:07] Nicola So he’s sexually inappropriate. It’s like shagging the H.R. chick as well, Like, oh, I have this is going I.

[00:23:15] GINA Have a theory that. Yes, but not per se. But I mean.

[00:23:21] Nicola Come on, you know, like fired together. So I’m guessing there was something inappropriate that unfolded and now we’re trying to.

[00:23:27] GINA School that theory.

[00:23:29] Nicola To give her.

[00:23:30] GINA But also she could have been fired if it came out that she offered him the job, knowing his background and then going around it. That’s certainly Firable as well. Possible. But the thing is that we work at charter schools, and charter schools are, well, employees. You could be terminated any time, You could leave anytime. There’s no like you don’t really need a reason. You know, there’s no exchanging of hands for that. It’s like obviously schools have their own rules and they could kind of go around things very easily, but they do pay well. Charter school. Okay, so. Well, yeah.

[00:24:01] Nicola So is a charter school like a private school or is it a public? Like what? Fire?

[00:24:04] GINA Charter school is like a private school. It’s one that basically you make your own rules. You have to get it approved first. Like it’s not you domination all. It’s not. So it’s not like a like when you when you have private schools in America, typically they’re like Catholic or Jewish or there’s some kind of religious affiliation or something to that effect. Okay. Ultimately, but a charter school is I think it is. It’s like almost I feel like it’s a public private school because it is funded somewhat publicly. However, there’s more of a difficult sort of screening process for the kids. Like you have to be somewhat exceptional. But then they’re also funded by like rich people. Yes, because it looks good. All right. So it’s sort of a public and private thing. It’s like a publicly funded private school in some ways.

[00:24:56] Nicola Okay. I’m I’m following. I’m glad you clarified. By that for people who don’t know, like me, for.

[00:25:01] GINA You and Megan. But that’s why they’re able to circumvent the rules, because they’re not fully publicly funded, not like a public school where.

[00:25:08] Nicola So they don’t have the same checks and balances that.

[00:25:11] GINA We.

[00:25:12] Nicola Would have.

[00:25:12] GINA Where we would have flagged. I think that really? Yeah, that’s checking up on the teachers and so on and so forth. Oh, and by the way, if I did not obtain any accreditation accreditations for.

[00:25:26] Nicola Accredited dietitian degradation.

[00:25:29] GINA He graduated high school, wasn’t qualified. He wasn’t he went well for a multitude of reasons, but he once a high school graduate once one year or one semester of college, dropped out. So one class never been around children in a teaching capacity. Adnan was all kind of like just a bunch of people who were terrible and just like very power hungry, very, and money hungry. You have to imagine right where the day before Halloween or whatever it was, my one of my students threw a desk at my teacher, like.

[00:26:01] Nicola Left of the desk.

[00:26:03] GINA Yes, I was at the desk. Now, this was normal in the school I was in. Like there was a lot of fights and violence, like at least two or three fights during a school day. So this girl got really mad. She, like, launched a desk and almost hit my teacher. I was in the next room. My co teacher is now calling Mr. X on the phone because he’s in charge of this. He did it pick up. So she yelled to me in the hallway. I was next from over. I like ran in. I was like, What’s wrong? And then I called him and he picked up for me and I was like, Hey, she needs your help. Like a girl threw a goddamn desk at someone. And he was like, Oh, yeah, I did. Oh, yeah. Okay, okay. He handled it. She was sent back to class. What happens later? Every Friday we had a faculty meeting at the end of the day, and it was bullshit. It was complete insanity. It was just like, Let’s waste your time. So we were there and he was like, I want this place to be. He was always like just preaching on a soapbox. And I remember that day he had on a sweater that on the back of it had his full slam poetry eulogy at his grandmother’s funeral that he wrote with the picture her on the front. Was it crocheted or was it It was printed, but I think he was so full of himself. I want you to think he was like he went to like, I don’t know.

[00:27:19] Nicola And he’s wearing the bedazzled top hats. I’m like, I’m just painting a picture here where he was.

[00:27:24] GINA That was part of the ensemble. No, sadly.

[00:27:26] Nicola Not that day. Oh, God, no. But he he this guy. I’m imagining this guy with a bedazzled practice now he’s got a sweater on with his did Nana on the friends and his slam poetry embroidered on the back. What she We go down to the shoes because I need to I need a picture is a.

[00:27:43] GINA Little short He Yeah it’s about 511 six foot okay yeah he he thought he was all muscular. He wasn’t just regular and he always wore, like, Nike’s and stuff. Like he never dress. So he wanted like. Like streetwear. Yes, yes, yes.

[00:27:57] Nicola Because he’s got, he’s got a hot on in his fucking sweat pants.

[00:28:00] GINA Exactly.

[00:28:04] Nicola Like Charlie bought the factory.

[00:28:06] GINA Oh, my God. It’s sexual assaulting. My God, this is a shower.

[00:28:11] Nicola That is exactly how I imagine this person. Charlie. It’s like Willy Wonka. So let’s call him. You know what? We’re giving him a new name. His name is Willy Wonka. Willy Wonka.

[00:28:23] GINA Let’s go. Willy Wonka. So. Okay, so take us back. You’re at this meeting and he’s at this meeting noticing these basically, like, these are recipes, Grandma. Like, he’s so out of his mind, he’s talking to us about, like we’re a family. We have to rely on each other. Where if you have problems, you have to speak up. Because the teachers there were not very qualified. Other than me and my teacher, a few others, they were like first year teachers and they were very warm. They were dropping like flies. They were allegedly asking for help. So he was like, you know, you guys are suffering and the kids suffer all that. So my coach, teacher, she’s in a room. She usually is very, very close together, very calm. She’s like opposite of me, basically. And she raised her hand and was like, Mr. Willy Wonka, you know, actually, I called you today. You didn’t pick up unless Principal Megan called you. And I really need your help. So what you’re saying is not actually true? And he lost his God damn, Mike. He stood up. You know, this is after his whole spiel about, like, we’re a family. And she’s like, I’m just saying, like, you didn’t pick up today. And it was like, How dare you start screaming and shouting at her? And she just slowly pulls out her phone and it’s like, Do you want I could just show everybody that I called you like twice. And then I was like, Yeah. And then he was like, He just really, like, cursing at us, cursing at me and her at this point.

[00:29:43] Nicola So actual verbal abuse.

[00:29:46] GINA Meanwhile, this in front of the entire school, all 40 staff except for two were absent. All of the staff were there for this. Are you calling me about this? Yeah. You’re like Gina. It was lame.

[00:29:58] Nicola Now. Okay, let’s. Let’s dial that back for a second. So you are being fucking yelled that you’re being dressed down essentially in front of an entire faculty. How are you feeling in that moment? Like, what is going through your mind in that moment?

[00:30:11] GINA In this moment? I’m very if you look, I have a handful of graphs and that’s it. I’m very like my circle is very small, but the people that I’m friends with like I will destroy.

[00:30:23] Nicola Ride or die.

[00:30:24] GINA Anyone talks bad about Gina, it’s over. Like nothing gets me more than someone I love being yelled at or hurt and I’m there. So at this point I’m like seeing red and I’m sitting there and I’m just like, Let me calm her down first. So I’m like, Hey, look, he’s staring at us. Don’t look at the end of this meeting. Stay close by me. There’s a chance that he will want to mess with me, but, like, not leave my sight. Like, not after the meeting. We’re blinding. Just follow me. He’s literally still threatened at this point. Megan, what were you doing to shut up him saying that what we’re saying was true? He’s calling us liars over a phone call. So, yeah, it was one of those things that I already was super miserable at a job, but I didn’t know what was to come of this. So this was like the best part of my job. This was like the high times. So meeting ends, He’s staring at us. It’s awkward. He’s just. Oh, and at one point he’s screaming at us. And when the patrol stands up and puts her hands gently on his chest, it’s like Mr. Willy Wanker, calm down. Instead of like, Get out of here instead of. Don’t do that. It’s.

[00:31:24] Nicola It’s called the police.

[00:31:26] GINA Yes. He was allowed to do whatever he wanted in this place. He And why you have such a big head. Because he could do so much.

[00:31:32] Nicola But it was so that he could wear the bedazzled hats.

[00:31:35] GINA Yes, exactly. So what I did for this was I did not know that the principal was also his friend, the woman. So for two weeks before this, me, my whole teacher were sending in complaints like formal complaints, saying that we’ve seen him manhandle students who he showed our students against the wall outside of our room for teaching. And there are cameras. So we’re like, Check the cameras. So this time I have exact time and texture. Everything never went anywhere. He you can’t have a six.

[00:32:02] Nicola Foot man manhandling children. Sorry. As a parent.

[00:32:07] GINA I’m coming for you to a child. You shouldn’t be putting your hands on other people’s children, period. Unless it’s in self-defense. It it was crazy. And me and her went to the board. We went everywhere and they just weren’t carrying it. And I just left it under the rug. Yeah. And it’s before this happened, actually, I found out he was texting one of my students who just lost her father about six months prior, and he was like, you know, I could be like a dad to you. You look really pretty today, like late night texts. And she told me about it, and I. I left the classroom with my teacher and I called them on was, are you aware this happened? And she’s like, What?

[00:32:41] Nicola Oh my God, how inappropriate.

[00:32:44] GINA You went to the board? She complained. Nothing came of it either. So I didn’t know at the time, though, that I was good friends with him. So basically they were accepting it. They were ripping it up, correct? Right. They were going to protect him. Yeah. And then the board would send me back emails saying like, Oh, we’re looking into this. We promise we’re looking into this. And we’re just like, What is happening here? So then when he got out of that meeting, I was like, This guy is so unhinged, and the way he was getting out of it was like, This is deeper than that. And I looked at her. I was like, He knows. He knows. We’ve been complaining about it. Oh, yeah. You just know when someone looks at you.

[00:33:16] Nicola It’s like. It’s like shock eyes. It’s like target to shock eyes.

[00:33:21] GINA And I’m like, No one’s gonna look at me like that except for my mother. So stop. Look the other way. Like.

[00:33:25] Nicola This is a fucking roller coaster.

[00:33:26] GINA Yeah. So we’re like, No, I already have, like, PTSD.

[00:33:29] Nicola And I’m living like, I can, you know, my eyes actually hurt from, like.

[00:33:34] GINA I’m going to send this to my therapist. Somebody like, by the way.

[00:33:37] Nicola Can we just pause here for a second and remind people that if this podcast is something you enjoy, we would love to hear from you.

[00:33:44] GINA You can find us on Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. Let’s break up toxic workplace stories.

[00:33:49] Nicola Sharing and subscribing really helps us feel validated.

[00:33:53] GINA So we leave the meeting and we’re leaving and he makes he cuts between her and I, and I like wedging myself back, so I’m still next to her. And he was like, Next time you come for me, I’m going to be the one typing an email. And she was like, What? And he was like, And I’m going to tell them that you’re not sober on the job. I’m going to tell him, I swear on everything. I can tell them that you shrink on the job. This person was sober of the drunk were always sober. I mean, first of all, they’ve been teachers for years. Her like we know how and we’re like, what? So then he starts yelling. It’s all staff. He goes, You know, Miss R and never they’re not sober on the job and they’re around our kids. They’re unsafe. When I tell you, I lost my mind in that moment. So, by the way, everyone is still in the room. Not one soul has left. So we’re talking 40, 45 people were there, including my bosses who were standing there. I looked at them. They’re laughing in the corner, watching one of them being my teachers friends. What over there was like, This isn’t a joke. Go over there. Because he’s about to, like.

[00:34:53] Nicola Unload, like and.

[00:34:55] GINA Physically assault this person. So he starts. So they go up to him, he starts storming away. I just saw Red and I saw her starting to cry. And that got me even angrier. And I yelled over to him through the cafeteria. No one’s left it. He only tried to leave. And I was like, Oh, are you mad? Because they know what you’ve done to the kids?

[00:35:17] Nicola Oh. Oh, snap. Okay, so let’s just say for a second. So you’ve yelled this back at him, So. Okay, so. So it is.

[00:35:25] GINA I knew what was already out there. I knew.

[00:35:27] Nicola It. So in hindsight, if hindsight was 2020, do you feel that it was justified in that moment? Or maybe could you have been more tactful?

[00:35:39] GINA No, no, because I was with Meghan at the school, he with Meghan, and he’s he’s hurling accusations that could ruin my career. Really? Did you feel physically threatened by him at this point? So at this point, yes. And I’m going to get into why so I say that because I’m just like, fine, you want to unload these accusations, aren’t you? I’ll give you one. That is true. And everyone here is going to know it because my emails are going nowhere. My documents are going nowhere. Now I’m going to have 40 years here it. Also, I feel like that’s some form of self-preservation on your part is that you’re like, you’re not only for self-preservation, but you’re advocating for yourself. Yeah, I really I don’t think there’s there was anything wrong with what you did, especially knowing what I know, what you’re about to let everyone else in on it. I think. I think that was a smart, strategic thing to do because you’re like, I’m not going to let this hide anymore because it is really unsafe. I’m going, I guess.

[00:36:36] Nicola I think that’s true. But coming in from fresh eyes, I’m like, Is there an opportunity for us to have de-escalated? And if you know, those emails and those complaints aren’t going somewhere, what is the next step? Is it a police matter? Is it do we report the somewhere to like a school thing? Like I’m like an independent. It’s like an independent thing that does school stuff.

[00:37:01] GINA I mean, me and my co teacher did give cops information about what he was doing, and it also went nowhere because there was no proof they went to the school. We’re not going over the tapes of the cameras showing him physically. So basically it went nowhere. So we did do our due diligence about that and it went nowhere. So when he was leaving, he was literally like, I’m not saying what he’s saying, but he was like, Go after yourself. Things like that, like cursing at us, calling us whores. They’re like literally going out of the 40 people in front of 40 people. And my two bosses were laughing in the corner and I’m like, Oh, you want to? Okay, what about what you do to The kids are upset that they found out about that. And he barrels towards us. I’m talking about he charges towards us. And I think a football player.

[00:37:44] Nicola Like he’s coming.

[00:37:45] GINA Yes. So literally, I step in front of my co teacher at this time, at this point, and I kind of like go in front of her because I’m like, all right. And he had four men, four men hold him back for the Duggars or like colleagues that were holding them back, colleagues that were holding him back.

[00:38:03] Nicola Okay. So it took four people to hold him back. So I’m curious.

[00:38:06] GINA I mean, I think once to get us and kill us, he said it’s so dark.

[00:38:11] Nicola I’m curious, though, if it’s taking for people to hold him back, He’s he’s instantaneously aggressive. Is there an opportunity here that he could be taking methamphetamines.

[00:38:22] GINA Or written down there? Because, you know, pot calling the kettle black, It’s like you spot it because you’ve got it. So the whole thing about your teacher not being sober.

[00:38:33] Nicola Where where is that coming from?

[00:38:35] GINA It’s prediction of I would be like, you’re a shitty teacher, right? Yeah. It’s a very strange thing to just pop up out of nowhere. The thing is, at this time, about a year and a half ago, a lot was coming out about teachers being on drugs at work, you know, freshly from college for sure. Some was, you know, so he knew that it was a buzz word that everyone would be.

[00:38:56] Nicola On a trigger word as well to get investigations and things like that.

[00:39:00] GINA Exactly. Instead of what it really was, which was he just losing his mind. So he heard the whole thing about it by screaming at my teacher. I was like, Oh, you’re not sober. So at this point, for people holding back. So he’s trying to he’s not only like spitting, screaming that he’s going to kill us, you And then at this point, my H principal comes up to her and I and goes, These are really bad accusations. We’re going to have to do an investigation on you.

[00:39:25] Nicola And we’re not doing an investigation on the man that’s yelling and almost physically assaulting us.

[00:39:29] GINA So what I said was, none of this is true. And no, you’re not. Because at this point, I’m seeing red, but I’m still being as professional as I can be. But I’m also like, You’re not doing that. You’re not doing that. This is crazy that you just ignored this man trying to tear through me. And doing this one little thing, he said, Got it. So at this point, I see the ship. That’s how he is brought out by the security guard who really is just the guy that works there. I can’t. And enough said. And he barrels back on forth three times before he eventually leaves. At this point, he’s outside of the school. We were taken up to the principal’s office to stay in there to keep us safe. Allegedly. But really, they had us write down what happened. And we’re like, no, we’re going home and we’re going to.

[00:40:12] Nicola Report this to the police.

[00:40:13] GINA Exactly. So they were like, oh, well, you know what? Like trying to, like, really know what to do. Were you there for, like, very gaslighting? They tried to do us. And I like going have to look into this, but have you guys ever done drugs on the job? Do you do drugs after work? Do you drink on the job? And we’re like, No. Are we going to get back to what we just talked? Like what just happened? So they were like rerouting you kind of like they were completely covering his ass and their asses. He’s outside of this one. We hear him in the window just screaming that he’s going to kill us, that we’re bitches that is waiting for us, that we better watch our backs. Following this, my teacher lived with me for a good two weeks because she was, like, scared to go home.

[00:40:51] Nicola I’d be scared to go home. Was Gonzalez mental?

[00:40:55] GINA Was he allowed back on the campus? Was he fired? How did this play out for him? I think this is insanity. It gets worse.

[00:41:04] Nicola Okay. At this point, I’m like, how is this getting worse? We’ve been assaulted.

[00:41:08] GINA With three old.

[00:41:09] Nicola Sets where on average we’ve been kidnaped.

[00:41:12] GINA Every day. My coach and I would look at each other and be like, It can’t get worse, right? And then it fucking ended with You’re in the office with the principals. They’re gaslighting you. Yes. He outside screaming. He tries to come back in three different times and then you’re like, No, I just want to go home. Yes. So we leave. The principal walks to the subway and she’s like, All right, yeah, whatever, whatever. We’ll take care of this. She comes over. Saturday, Sunday rolls around. We hear nothing about any of this. And we’re just like, How are we going to go to work tomorrow? I called the principal. She’s the guy. We have to worry about it. You know Mr. Willie, Why he. He’s been talked to. You know, he’s going to be out for a week, but he’ll be back. But I will do it. So he was.

[00:41:51] Nicola Suspended?

[00:41:53] GINA Technically, yes. With passion, with Pagano. So one week for. One week For one week, that’s for. And what kind of message does that send to everyone in the organization? We were like, No, we’re not happy about that. What do you want us to fire him? We’re like, yes, he’s a liability around children for a multitude of reasons, not limited to the fact that he hates us and is threatening to kill us. But anyway, I was up. Were you there? Alec, question Because it sounds like they were not. Yeah, well, the next morning, girls, around about 4 a.m. my phone goes off like an email from the job saying to all staff, All students, today is a mental health day for the teachers. See you tomorrow. Like what? So we singlehandedly shut the school down for a day, but I still like one girl. So we’re in the dark. I’m emailing the principals and they’re like, We cannot legally talk about what happens. And I was like, But I was involved in this. How are we not How are you not? Give me any update. Also, we’re being investigated of drug and alcohol abuse. Like, what are you talking about? And for like three months they were not sort of all they said was that their investigation on us has proved that we have not done any drugs or drank any alcohol. Yeah. So that’s good. I don’t know what the investigation could have been. Did they actually, like, piss test you or anything? No. So then what investigation was there actually started? So I found out from someone that knew him that he was telling them that if they look on the cameras outside, they’ll see me at her smoking outside. But at this point, as you know, gina, I was a heavy duty cigaret smoker. Yeah. So you would go out and smoke cigarets. So he tried saying that me and her would go out and like smoke like blunts.

[00:43:33] Nicola Basically you can smell that on a person.

[00:43:36] GINA For three months. They would not give us anything on what happened. But in these three months he started like a protest group with the students, the eighth graders, and they started an Instagram about me and my teacher saying that we’re terrible teachers that we got him fired for.

[00:43:52] Nicola So he started an Instagram. So now we’ve now we’ve crossed over into the harmful digital media.

[00:43:58] GINA Like, yes, it was cyberbullying and it was through the Instagram and it was like free Mr. Willy Wonka, basically. And it was basically an uprising of students to affect me and my teacher. But the thing is that none of them knew what happens. None of the parents knew what happened under students knew. So he would also, aside from his Instagram, he would have the students for a good two or three weeks. Once the bell rang at 730 or whatever, he would have them get up. Those like signs, like picketing signs and like free Mr. Free Mission. And they would debate what are we freeing him from? I don’t know, freeing him, the prosecution, for him to come back. So he started saying that basically me and her lied about him and all the stuff. All the stuff. No teachers came to our defense. No one said that’s not what happened. There was one channel they did in particular that was crazy. And it was No, no, Mr. Wanker, No work, no Mr. Wanker, no work. Meaning they would not do school if he was not there. There were. It was.

[00:45:03] Nicola Okay. So we’ve got a picket line trying to get protesting Willy Wanker back to work for protesting to get this man who assaults verbally abusers and in general is a total wanker. Yeah. We’ve got school kids.

[00:45:22] GINA Yeah. Ten, 11, 12, 13 year olds.

[00:45:25] Nicola Petitioning to have this wanker back at school. Wow. I like. I don’t even know where to park that at this point.

[00:45:32] GINA Yeah, it was, it was really hard. And then a few of the teachers were helping us Instagram and we’re recording it. We’re the one of the teachers recording the picketing. I forgot to cut off her video at one point and she went up to the principal was like, Oh, isn’t this for the moment, Miss Krebs? And I message it to Ms.. Krabs and was like, Oh, you’re in this video just so you know? And she was like, Oh my God, Why? So the person was there and I was like, I know who it is. It’s very clearly the teacher. It’s her voice in it. And it was suddenly deleted, but not the Instagram, just the video. And they crop that her up.

[00:46:06] Nicola Is the Instagram still active or has been taken out?

[00:46:09] GINA It’s still active.

[00:46:10] Nicola No, shut.

[00:46:11] GINA Up. Pretty good question. Back to the actual chronology of this. How long was he ended up suspended with pay in three months, Three months, Three. So during this time? Yes. During this time, if he was harassing us, he’d be outside the school grounds waiting for us, walking after us to the subway. He would get the kids at like ten in the morning or whatever after their process. And he would stand on ice sheet and not like a box that like. Like a soapbox. Yeah, a soapbox. Literally like a fruit stand, but. You see, I don’t interact with the kids about what happened. It was just somebody in power who was a man yelling at my teacher and going nuts and people saying it. That’s really what it came down to. So he would literally be there every day talking to the kids and we would have to walk by to go to the subway in the bus and walk by this. And people like kids cursing at us, screaming at us. Parents hated us. About a month after he saw a suspect and we’re still not being told anything. Her and I have our cigaret break and as we’re walking back into the school, we’re crossing in front of the school. There’s a street and I hear a car like turn on and it’s also like eight in the morning. So I’m like, that’s weird. It was like earlier and it was like speeding. And her and I are half way through the middle of the street crossing it, and a car tries to run us over and it’s blasting the song that he wrote for the school and it’s him in the car. It sideswipes us. So, yeah, So he. But nobody was hurt, right? Nobody was hurt. But it was blessings, a rap song about the school as he was in the car. So we go in and we’re like, We’ve had enough. We’re done. I’m not doing this. I literally walk into the principal’s office, which is all. I can’t talk about school. I’m going to talk to you. We almost got run over by like what is happening. And she’s like, Well, it was off school grounds, so we can’t say anything. And I was like, Actually, no. It was like right on the support of the school. I know there’s a camera. So I took a picture of the camera and I sent it to the I.T. guy who was a security guard, apparently, and he goes to the camera and he gets the video for me. He pulls it for me out of the car trying to run us over. And can you clearly see who’s driving it in that you can’t video license plate, isn’t it? It is.

[00:48:18] Nicola But now you’ve got actual proof that this person is trying to assault here.

[00:48:23] GINA So so I’m like, I’m just sitting in the office and I’m just like, I’m not going anywhere. I call the cops. Sorry. Like somebody said they were going to kill us and then try to run us over. So she was like, You have duties that we have a duty as teachers. You have to go back to your class. And I was like, I’m waiting for the police to come right now because you guys should fill out an incident report when he tried to attack us a month prior or whatever, and they were like, Oh, well, the cops came. And then I found out that the H.R. woman is not only French, which is crazy, that she’s French at the cops who comes in, she talks to the cop first before talking to us, before talk talks us, which doesn’t make any sense. But she’s not involved in this. So the cops come, they take our report. Yet he’s not allowed within a certain amount of space between us. So at this point, he’s finally told that he’s fired from the job, maybe five, 10 minutes go by after he’s fired and after the school says a thing. What they forgot to do because they’re idiots is they forgot to suspend social media for the school. So he had all of the information, all parents, all back. He had our information where we lived, everything. Basically what he did was to set up this insane message that went straight to the kids and families and all that stuff, saying School got him fired, me and her, that none of it happened, that we lied. And the admin believes that we don’t have in front of 40 people, but whatever, basically completely focused, completely like more than before. Now we had parents know who it was, how many.

[00:49:47] Nicola How many people were spammed with this. Like what if I said no.

[00:49:50] GINA That every single person we had about 100 kids in each grade level. So it’s close to 1000 people if you include their family like they were sending it to. The parents were honest, maybe about 400 students. Then their parents that get all admin, all faculty, all the board. Yeah. So you’re saying a minimum reach 3000 people? Yeah. And these are guys I need to rally behind me, stick up for me. So get my job back. And at this point, you’re. It’s a point where you really can’t get another teaching job at this point without questions being asked. And also, it’s my fucking job. Like, I’m going to see if you can get anything wrong. I have got it wrong. And but you know what? Now, now so current, I really get, like, blacklisted. Like, no, the teachers will even look at us. They won’t talk to us. They won’t help us now. Like we needed help. Like we were in the office. The big teachers, lot of everyone was there and they would just ignore us. You’d be like, Oh, I can like, this would be a really good time for them for some people to, like, crowd around you in solidarity or no.

[00:50:52] Nicola Okay, So you’re getting just to confirm here, you’re getting no support from any of the other faculty. We circle back again. Okay. So we look at this where any of them in a situation where they were being assaulted or were they threatened or were they scared that if they came forward, they would get themselves into hot water?

[00:51:14] GINA Yeah, basically, even though it wasn’t there, her and I were like, you know, people we couldn’t talk to like they had their own like his best friend was brought on to do his job. So that’s.

[00:51:25] Nicola Favoritism.

[00:51:27] GINA Yeah, 100%. And also, do you think there was maybe an element with the teachers and I’m not sticking up for them, but that they were just I don’t it’s like, okay, right, right. Not mine. Looking at my circus kind of thing. Yeah. Like, I don’t want to get involved. This is so like, which I. In all fairness, like, I get that. I don’t know. I might have been the same way I might have been not publicly siding with you, but maybe, you know, I would talk to you privately and be like, I saw what happened, whatever. But I don’t know how I would react. And somebody asking to be friends with anyone, we would just be like, Hey, can you give me that stapler? And they would ignore us, talk to us. And I’ve never really spoken to her before, but she seemed nice enough to her. And one day I was like, What exactly happened with him? Like, I feel really bad for you guys. We gave her a we gave her a summary like I’m giving you guys where like everyone else was there. So what exactly happens? And I was like, this, this, that and the other. It’s not it’s common knowledge what happens. Her and I were. And now at this point it’s Christmas because I remember it was pajama day. We’re all in like I was in a onesie my constitution dramas and my principal who just oh my God she wore super tight outfits, like very unprofessional, just like she had on a oh, my God, a skin, like a negligee. Tell me if it was worse. It was worse. It was a skin tight zip up one piece and there were candy canes across the ice. So she sends me and my teacher in the office and he’s yelling at us because this right stop sign a document that the lawyers have written up for us saying that we can never speak about what happened at the school while employed at the school, or we would get fired immediately. And we were like, we didn’t say anything wrong. And then they broke in. It said that we the school does not condone gossiping and we were gossiping and my friend was like gossiping about ourselves, what happened in public quoi? And they were like, Yeah, so we have to sign that so we can not talk about what happened at all. I think they saw that we were like, No, we’re right. And this woman that was trying to be nice went back to them, got really comfortable. They were talking about who you shooting at and backstab you, which you like got you got information from you and then like tattled on. But it was public knowledge. Everyone was there. Like it wasn’t we didn’t see anything that happened after nothing. We never say you tried for sex. So yeah. So technically we’re gag ordered. And at this again, it was hard to get a teaching job. So when I finally settled at this point, it made me feel stronger in a sense because I was like, Fuck it, I’m coming here every day. I don’t care who doesn’t like me. I’m going to do my job better than ever before so that no it catch me slipping. That’s when he started, like writing rap songs about us, like diss songs about her. And I know.

[00:54:09] Nicola Ridiculous.

[00:54:11] GINA Which and where would you publish them and who would listen to on SoundCloud? So let’s listen to them, all the students. Because you could tell it was all the students, because the comments are like fire emojis. Like, Yeah, okay, so going back to the old principal who’s crazy and single B emailing me, yes, bring her back into the mix. She became a principal at a nearby school. She’s still calling me, asking me to do it. I’m like, No. I find out that she employs her. She knew what happened. She left me a voicemail one day saying, I’m so sorry you did that to. I was always crazy. You don’t deserve that. I’m on your side. She would not stop calling it slip. Actually have to change my number. So then I found out that she. Oh, my God. This is so great. This blew me away. Buyer for employee him. Because rightfully so. Because the H.R. person there was like, Something’s off about this guy and sold his name and these records that were expunged, and they figured out all the shit you did, and they fired.

[00:55:06] Nicola Him more than what was understood to be.

[00:55:09] GINA Yes, allegedly. So like all of the other things that had happened previously and not even involving me, my teacher, it was about the SWAT team coming to kidnap the kid, everything like that. He’s gotten into like crazy stuff and they fired her from her new job for employing him and not looking at her as they should, and they fired him. So now she took the rap for it. Our life is hell. Everything’s pow. Working is horrible. They keep getting in trouble for the things we didn’t like, including some consequence. And we’re like, we did. And then they, like, delete it from us. Everything. Like, just get us right now. Mm hmm. So doing a smear campaign? Yeah. So she. Michael teacher really tried to hang on, and she left, I think, five weeks before the end of the school year. She was just having really bad anxiety because her commute longer than right. Hers was like 4 hours combined on a good day. Like, I was going to stop teaching forever after this happened, after I let this last job, which I encourage you to do. I was like, Stop teaching.

[00:56:09] Nicola Career change one on one.

[00:56:11] GINA And then I got a call from the school and I was just like, We’ll see. And it was like 7 minutes away from my new place. And I was like, Okay, I’m not going to leave the state. Let me go for it. And I love my job. Now I’m very like, I feel really happy there. And I think it’s important to note that you took a significant pay cut. Oh yeah, I’m getting paid about half of what I got paid before at at the Crazy Stalker school.

[00:56:35] Nicola So. Okay. So looking back, is there anything that you feel you could have done differently other than leaving or running for your life? Do you feel like there’s anything that you could have done differently to maybe make the situation less bad?

[00:56:53] GINA No. I mean, I think if anything, I did the minimum only because I was like thoroughly, like twice my therapist about what happened. And you just can’t just go and keep your head down, get your money and go. You are not going to be run out from anywhere. So, yeah, I mean, I was pleasant with people even though they wouldn’t even look twice at me. I just felt like, okay, well, this my job, I’m going to do it. And I don’t care if the people don’t like me because they’re all out of every bad toxic experience we have in the workplace. Something kind of good comes out of it. Bring it as my therapist is my teacher, my and our trauma bonded by what happened. End of this story. Basically the craziest thing happened, which was there was a graduation all teachers had to be a part of. So five in the morning, one of my teachers called me up. He was pretty nice to me and he was like, Miss Krebs called me and said that the guy is going to show up. I don’t know. It’s just me. And I was like, What do you mean? He’s going to be the guest speaker, the surprise speaker who writes.

[00:57:53] Nicola So he’s been fired. He’s been fired at this point. And now he’s making a repeat appearance, a cameo appearance into stage left as the special speaker.

[00:58:06] GINA So we’re still like making him out to be this, you know, scorned war hero. So 20 minutes. So I know this and I’m not going. I didn’t tell anyone yet or be I’m on my way. I didn’t tell him. I didn’t say anything. I was literally I went right back to bed 20 minutes before all the teachers are supposed to be there, which again, it’s an hour and a half with my house. Miss Krabs calls me and is like, Hey, we don’t know if it’s a heads up that he’s going to pop up and do like a surprise guest speaker thing for the graduating class. Now, you don’t know what no one just ran was like, I’m going to guest speak at the graduation because also they’d be like.

[00:58:44] Nicola No, you have an agenda. There’s like a time sheet. Like there’s a whole thing happening or a graduation.

[00:58:50] GINA Was he not told to stay certain amount of feet away from you in the school? Yes, that’s right. So that’s why she called and was like, look, he can come if you’re not there. But if you’re there, he can’t come. And students are going to be really upset if he’s not there. And I was like, isn’t it supposed to be a surprise? So they wouldn’t know what they would have? So she was like, okay, you know what? Enjoy graduation. And then I that day I sent in my letter saying I’m not going to resume my role, basically. Like a month ago, when my teacher quit, they told me, like, you know, you don’t have a place for next year. And I was like, I don’t want a place here. So I sent them a nice little letter saying, like, I hope they learned from the mistakes they made on how they treated people. I hope that, you know, the school is safe for the students next year. They really take into account who they hire and I hope they are okay with the decisions they’ve made. And have they treated me like a teacher? Yeah. So I kept it very professional. But I was also like, I really hope it’s a learning experience. He’s at graduation now. They decide to live, stream it on the website, on their Facebook, on Instagram. Why? Because he’s this star. I mean, so he’s a leader. Does this sound a little culty? Does that to anyone? Meghan It’s been live streamed. And they’re all saying what the actual fuck is how I am watching it sober. I’m watching it in my bed and I’m sitting, it’s my teacher. I’m like, Please watch. She’s like, Megan, I’m thinking about it. I’m like, gagging. Because I feel like, yeah, I was like, I got you over the wall because I also am a person that like, I it’s going to happen. I’m going to watch it because if you’re going to bring me up, I want to be there. You’re not going to talk about me. Can’t hear it. He mentioned this the whole time.

[01:00:31] Nicola Oh, Whoa. Yeah, because. Because that OC.

[01:00:36] GINA Still, you’re watching the live streaming. You’re like, What the actual fuck is going on? And he mentions you and your teacher, like, the whole time, like basically saying like, you know, why we got why I got fired because he starts. But not only so on the graduation bill, it’s a 5 to 10 minute special guest appearance right at the end. So I’m watching it and I know he’s at the end and he just walks up to the stage and it’s like, no, it’s my time. The principal, the principal handsome thing. And they’re like, Oh, change of time. And he wants to go now. He can’t wait to see you guys. Everyone starts, literally, parents are on their chairs like screaming for him. Like, this is why this guy’s how many of.

[01:01:13] Nicola The parents was he’s shagging. At this point, it’s.

[01:01:16] GINA Probably all of them. So he gets up there and everyone’s losing their minds. Kids are chanting his name. It’s like nine in the morning. And I’m just like, This is not.

[01:01:29] Nicola What I want you guys to do with a wink wink. The charismatic cult leader.

[01:01:34] GINA The charismatic cult leader. Exactly. It it was part. But he gets up there on stage and he starts like people are chanting, He’s a god. It’s called in. I’ll be here all night. So it’s like a 5 to 10 minute long thing. He made it about 30, 35 minutes. He gets on the stage and then starts doing this whole spiel on his fucking soapbox, and then he starts rapping about us. There was a whole rap about me and her. Meanwhile, we, like, could not say anything about it. We never did after that. Like we had to for like file document. Anyway, so he sat there for about 35 minutes rapping. While this is going on for rap, he starts rapping the school song that he tried to pass over when he was playing like I can’t. So what ended up happening to all of the administration? Either you left, your teacher Left what? No, they’re still there. I just found out that they’re currently in positions of power. That Ms.. Scruggs, the principal she started, she did this last year, too. We’re still only coming to work two days a week. She lives in Connecticut, and the board found out or demoted her and she’s trying to keep it hush hush and she’s still getting paid the same money. But now she has to come in 3 to 4 days a week. And they’re not calling her the principal. They’re calling her just like head of operations. That’s that’s fucking scary to have people like that, like in charge of kids. And during this time that I was leaving that job, I ended up moving because I knew well, there were a bunch of reasons why I moved. But one of the big reasons, to be honest with you, and I hate to sound like scared of people, but one of the bigger reasons I moved was because I knew that my address at that school. Where is Mr. Willy Wonka right now? Do we know? I know that he’s coaching the kids at the school. He’s not a teacher, but he on the weekends coaches them in basketball. They’re other than that his he is not allowed to teach anywhere in New York or substitute teach. So I’m not sure how he’s making money, but he has come out for music videos like you.

[01:03:37] Nicola Were like, but circling all the way back again. Like what? Now I’m curious to know if you if you were to go back and tell someone that may be experiencing a similar situation to this, like a super extra toxic workplace, what would you want to say to them?

[01:03:56] GINA Oh, I would say every. Okay, so my dad used to be a cop. And one thing he’s always ingrained in me like, keep receipts of everything. What document everything. When you like what you say to conversation someone, that means shit unless it’s recorded. Obviously. As a side note, in New York, if you want to record a conversation, only one party has to know if there’s two people. That party could be yourself.

[01:04:20] Nicola Oh, how interesting.

[01:04:22] GINA Just see that ties back to Nicola’s being fired for recording somebody. Definitely. My advice would be everything should be written. Even if you have a conversation person, you go back to your computer immediately. You say, Hey, circling back to a conversation that we had or prior to what we spoke about before, here’s the outlines. And another thing I to do is document everything, even if it’s a document within yourself, even if it’s notes, everything should have a date, time, everything. The second thing is when you see a red flag, trust your gut, trust your gut. I think it’s a really good way to highlight that toxicity. And I think I think the whole teacher thing is being talked about a lot more, especially since the pandemic happened. But toxicity is everywhere. It is literally every industry, every level, whether it’s C-suite levels or beginner teachers like your co teacher was. Not as seasoned as you are. It is literally everywhere. And I think I would agree with you that I should have listened to what people were saying. Yeah, I first came on the job that me and Nicola met because they were telling me who they were. I just told.

[01:05:32] Nicola You in the interview who they were.

[01:05:35] GINA They were telling me and I just was like, Oh, they’re they’re being cute. It’s nothing I can’t handle. You can do prevention. You can try to mitigate things, but a lot of things don’t really become clear until you’re in it. Yeah.

[01:05:47] Nicola It’s all like us when we left or things.

[01:05:51] GINA Yeah. Or things really gel once you have the hindsight, Of course. One thing I learned from Gina that I’ll never forget that she taught me like five years when I didn’t get it at the time is it’s not personal. And it took me so long to learn like what she meant by that. And it’s like people’s projections that they put on you and seem like an asshole sometimes. It’s just not. It’s not right, but it’s not person’s. It’s because they’re unhappy. That’s Megan’s Toxic workplace story.

[01:06:18] Nicola Thank you for joining us today. If you would like to share your story, we would love to hear from you.

[01:06:23] GINA Also, leaving a review helps us create more content because it shows us there is an interest in this topic.

[01:06:29] Nicola For those of our listeners who do better with reading, we have closed captioning available on YouTube.

[01:06:34] GINA Next week, same time, same place.

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