Post: In the NYC DOE, Making Anyone "Look Bad" is a Crime
    Posted by: Jaabar on 4/24/14
    () Comments


    A Bronx teacher who criticized her boss got a hard lesson
    recently when she was thrown in jail.

    Lydia Howrilka, 24, of the Academy for Language and
    Technology HS, was fired last July by Principal Arisleyda
    Urena, who called her ineffective.

    Howrilka sued and filed a complaint alleging Urena
    improperly raffled off iPads and other costly prizes for
    kids. The claim prompted a DOE probe.

    Howrilka sent an e-mail asking about her treatment to Urena
    and Chancellor Carmen Fariña — and to some 40 other city and
    state education officials and city politicians.

    She got a call from the NYPD asking her to surrender on
    Urena’s charge of aggravated harassment.

    Howrilka spent seven hours in the 84th Precinct house before
    being moved to Brooklyn’s Central Booking.

    After seven more hours, a court officer said the DA had
    dismissed the charge.

    “I believe it was done to intimidate,” she said. “And I’m
    concerned it will have a chilling effect on other

    Urena’s lawyer, Tim Parlatore, said his client called cops
    “because of repeated, unwanted e-mails and communications.”

    Also tossed in the klink was Francesco Portelos, a
    technology teacher at IS 49 Berta A. Dreyfus on Staten
    Island, who was yanked from his classroom two years ago,
    after launching a blog accusing Principal Linda Hall of
    violating rules. The outcome of his termination hearing on
    charges of insubordination and other alleged misconduct is

    Portelos, 35, who collects a $75,796 salary, wrote a
    satirical blog post on Feb. 24 saying he had hacked into the
    DOE’s payroll system with the password “kittensRcute,” and
    given himself a raise.

    “Ridiculous story? Yes it is,” he wrote in the same post,
    adding “the truth is I can’t hack and never have.”

    But the DOE’s chief information security officer, Desmond
    White, filed a complaint of official misconduct.

    The police report asks, “Is Victim fearful of their
    safety/life?” White apparently answered “YES.”

    Portelos spent 33 hours in custody, sleeping on the floor of
    a crowded cell next to a toilet, he said, before the DA
    dropped the charge.

    The DOE made no apology. “We believe Mr. Portelos acted
    inappropriately with a post on his blog, and we notified the
    NYPD out of an abundance of caution,” a spokesman said.

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  • In the NYC DOE, Making Anyone "Look Bad" is a Crime, 4/24/14, by Jaabar.