Black Westchester broke the story, Tuesday, May 1st on MVCSD Superintendent implementing tight security measures after disgruntled employee inappropriate Facebook comments. News 12 then followed up with a story of their own showing the alleged disgruntled employee which lead some to ask the question, could he be a whistle-blower? As the word got out to the community, the teacher was described by many students and parents whose children had this teacher as ‘a good teacher’ and ‘one of the ones who really cares.’
Black Westchester searched the teacher’s Facebook page where the inappropriate or threatening comments that were allegedly made and not only didn’t we find any but his profile picture is a sign that says ‘Save Our Kids, Not Guns,’ and there are several posts protesting President Donald Trump’s tweet and statement on the controversial idea of arming school teachers as a protective and preventive measure against school shootings. He spoke about that in the interview in detail.
Black Westchester sat down with former Mount Vernon High School Earth Science Teacher, Mr. Christopher Vasquez in an exclusive interview to see if there was any merit to his claims of improprieties in the school, like teachers selling cooked food and snacks out of his class, and shaking down students who can’t pay by going in their pockets and taking their Beats headphones or whatever he can find until they pay, as well as teachers changing grades on the regents, causing some of his students who passed to retake the class and much more.
While there is always a possibility of a fired employee making up improprieties of their former employer because they feel wronged that they were fired, during the time we were conducting this interview one of his student who was walking by stopped to show his support and express his sadness for the teacher being fired. The student asked Mr. Vasquez what happened to his labs and lab hours he completed that are needed to take the regents. The student told BW that they are trying to make him re-do the work claiming he didn’t do it. He also told BW he saw a female teacher going through the completed labs that he was told do not exist.
Another student emailed Mr. Vasquez during our interview asking if he still had copies of her labs because she is being made to re-do them all by Friday or she won’t be able to take the regents and she had completed many of them already.
Mr. Vasquez informed BW, he received a cease and desist letter from Superintendent Hamilton instructing him not to talk to any students or parents or risk criminal charges, but claims he is speaking up even in risk of losing his job because someone has to.
‘I can always find another job and if this was just an attack on me that would be one thing, but this is affecting the students’ education, and residents and parents have the right to know,” Mr. Vasquez tells BW.
Mr. Vasquez said he sent this information (videos and documented proof, some of which he showed BW off the record) to MVHS Principle Ronald Gonzalez, Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton, the entire school board, members of the city council including Council President Lisa A. Copeland, The Mount Vernon Federation of Teachers and others to no avail. In response he received a message from the Superintendent directing him; ‘to remove his postings as they are a violation of students’ rights to confidentiality. Your failure to do so will result in criminal charges being filed against you.’ Despite losing his job and facing criminal charges he continues to stand his ground.
Mr. Vasquez, as with many others, when individuals are searching for answers and not getting any or trying to get the word out about improprieties or injustices, they find their way to Black Westchester, when they have no where else to go.
Now there is a chance because he was made out to be a disgruntled employee, that those who received his emails, may have ignored them or possibly never seen them at all. Lets say they didn’t know, maybe the parents never were told, lets say that is the case, after the article everyone will know and the question is now that you have heard Mr. Vasquez’ accusations, what are you going to do about it?
We reached out to Superintendent Hamilton via email and he responded;
“Mr. Vasquez’s allegations have been investigated and found to be without merit. He is making false claims and approaching defamation from some of his former colleagues and principal. His postings on social media were deemed to be a potential threat to the safety of staff and students which include a “countdown” which given the climate surrounding school violence inclined the district to take additional security measures. I would caution you about giving him the platform as his reporting is irresponsible and misleading.”
However, a few other district officials, off the record confirmed there are many things such as this going on in the district and the district is trying to make Mr. Vasquez seem like he is crazy and a threat. In addition, we heard straight from students about the teacher selling food and putting the student through the glass and taking his headphones, etc. Others spoke of lost labs and lab hours. There is obviously more to this story than is being said by either side.
Mr. Vasquez vehemently denies he threatened anyone or that he is or was a threat to any students or faculty and stands by his story 100%. After the interview we were left with the question, is this individual the disgruntled employee we were led to believe or a targeted whistle-blower? We posted video of the interview so you can judge for yourself, below.
For too long, some elected and appointed officials, community leaders, school administrations and even some teachers stay in their lanes as they ‘Race to the Top,’ throwing around slogans like ‘No Child Left Behind’ and ‘Every Student Succeeds’ because ‘we are for the kids.’ No matter how this story turns out, it’s time for everyone to put up or shut up!
Race to the Top, abbreviated R2T, RTTT or RTT, is a $4.35 billion United States Department of Education competitive grant created to spur and reward innovation and reforms in state and local district K-12 education.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was a U.S. Act of Congress that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; it included Title I provisions applying to disadvantaged students.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, and represents good news for our nation’s schools.
We will be sending this to the entire Mount Vernon City School District administration and requesting a comment or statement to get to the bottom of this story and will follow it where ever it leads. Stay tuned for more on this developing story.