A Manhattan principal accused of trying to intimidate a teacher by sending an anonymous and hateful letter is the focus of a criminal probe, officials said.
The property manager at teacher Michael McPherrin's apartment building got the letter in June, according to NY1, which broke the story Friday.
"There is always a strong odor of marijuana coming from their apartment as well as underage boys who are being coerced into unsafe sex practices with those two openly gay men with AIDS," the letter read.
McPherrin, in a followup letter to the property manager, said he thought the initial missive was related to his "role as union representative" at Independence High School.
The teacher hired an expert who analyzed the handwriting on the envelope.
The expert compared the writing in an address to a handwriting sample from principal Ron Smolkin, who McPherrin believes was responsible for the letter.
The analysis showed a match was highly likely, NY1 reported.
Education Department officials declined to comment.
The teachers' union, the Manhattan District attorney's office and the state Human Rights Commission are investigating McPherrin's allegations.
Smolkin didn't return calls seeking comment.
The concerted effort to destroy union representation in schools continues.
Coincidence that the teacher targeted by the principal is a union rep?
I think not.
Coincidence that the DOE has done nothing to look into the matter?
I think not.
If this principal had the opportunity to lay off by "merit, he would lay off this teacher first - regardless of merit.
Even Gothamist gets this part of the story:
Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have been wrangling for months over how best to reform LIFO, the "last-in first-out" teacher firing policy. One such idea that has been proposed is for principals to be given more power with their recommendations as to who should be fired or not. But there's one downside to this: what if your principal is a crazy lunatic out to get you?
Michael McPherrin, who teaches at Independence High School in Manhattan, told NY1 that he believe his boss, Principal Ron Smolkin, sent a vicious anonymous letter to his co-op as a personal vendetta. The author of the note, who claims to be representing concerned residents of the building, reveals intimate personal details about McPherrin, and makes several accusations about him and his longtime partner Andre Lopes: "The talk of the building is that both Mike and illegal immigrant Andre suffer from full blown AIDS and have no problem infecting others including the underage boys they bring to the apartment." McPherrin was stunned by the note: "As you read, your jaw just keeps dropping because it just gets worse...This was an attempt to destroy our lives and me professionally," McPherrin said.
The building management called it "anonymous hate mail" and wrote McPherrin that, "our records indicate there are no complaints against you or your partner." The handwritten letter was brought to an analyst who found it "highly likely" they matched samples of handwriting McPherrin said were Smolkin's. McPherrin believes that Smolkin targeted him after he became the teacher's union rep and organized staff members concerned about Smolkin's leadership. "He has a history of retaliatory vindictive actions," McPherin said, including one case where a judge ruled Smolkin falsely accused a school aide of an assault inside the building and fired her without benefits.
Smolkin is a bad guy, he shouldn't be a principal, he shouldn't have power over other people - and yet not only does the DOE still let this guy run a school, they're not even looking into these allegations about the letter.
But ending LIFO and teacher tenure will make schools and education better, right?