This is where the rubber meets the living room.
Dozens of New York City teachers who were removed from public schools and placed in “rubber rooms” — the infamous places where those under investigation or awaiting disciplinary hearings are held — have been sent home to report remotely, The Post has learned.
The suspended employees, while fully paid, are not required to do anything other than sign in and out via email and “remain in the New York area.”
Most are complying with the rule, but some defiantly flew to Germany and the West Indies, a high school teacher awaiting a disciplinary hearing told The Post.
“No one knows where you are. You could be in Alaska or Hawaii on vacation – they don’t know,” the teacher said.
“You can log on at 8am, turn around and go back to sleep,” he added.
Permanent teachers can run errands, go shopping or meet friends for lunch while on the city’s payroll.
“None of the teachers I know put their jobs at risk by traveling long distances,” said Betsy Combier, a paralegal who writes the “NYC Rubber Room Reporters“blog.
At least 200 suspended people are currently at home, Combier estimates.
With teacher base salaries ranging from $61,070 to $128,657 a year, the cost to taxpayers for these stay-at-home teachers can be anywhere from $12 million to $25 million.
“What a huge waste of money. They sit in ‘rubber houses’ doing nothing,” Combier said.
The expelled educators included 92 DOE employees, including teachers and assistant principals who were accused last year of submitting fake COVID-19 vaccine cards. But a Brooklyn judge in December. 30 ordered the DOE to return the suing employees to their former jobs pending hearings. DOE is in the process of sending them back. The criminal investigation is ongoing.
The movement of the rubber in the DOE room reflects another change in the infamous pens.
Former Mayor Bloomberg agreed in 2010 to close several massive “replacement centers” where at least 600 teachers accused of misconduct or incompetence did nothing but read, sleep, knit and button. A Queens teacher ran a profitable real estate business on the side. Some that are not terminated after sexual misconduct are permanently sidelined
Since then, the DOE has scattered smaller rubber rooms throughout the city.
Rubbers stayed home during the COVID shutdown, but returned to buildings in September 2021.
Two days before the start of this school year, on Sept. 6, the DOE sent an email saying it would be “temporarily reporting remotely.” No reason was given, but one teacher was told there was “no central office space available”.
“As you must be able to report in person when requested, you are required to be in the New York area on the scheduled work days.” the missing states. “Any work assigned to you will be provided through your email to the DOE.”
Three teachers told The Post that the DOE did not tell them to report in person or give them any homework — and they were barred from remote workshops or training sessions.
“All I do is log in at 8am and log out at 2:50pm. No homework, no nothing,” said another high school teacher who is awaiting a decision in his administrative trial after five years as a rubber. He is fighting accusations that he made inappropriate comments to a female student.
Last year, the teacher moved into a Queens office building where all he did was hand out mail and sometimes Xerox paper while collecting his nearly $136,000 salary.
“I’m happy to go home. I didn’t want to be in that building and have to do the mail,” he said.
Another veteran teacher was accused of making an insensitive comment to a student he passed out last year in a DOE basement on Rockaway Avenue with up to 15 others.
“No work,” he said. “We talked. We played board games. We did everything we could to avoid getting killed.”
Now at home since September, “Watching TV,” he laughed. “Clean the house”.
He also takes anti-depressants, he said, because “I feel like rubbish”.