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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