Saturday, July 02, 2005

Let's Wrestle: Moonlighting Costs Teacher His Job

I don't think that this was what they had in mind (be sure to checkout the video) when New York City's Department of Education developed its "sick leave" policy for teachers:
A Queens teacher has resigned after investigators discovered he was on a pro-wrestling tour while claiming to be out sick.

The Department of Education says Matthew Kaye, a social studies teacher at Benjamin Cardozo High School, missed several days before the holiday break last year. He told school officials he was being treated for flu symptoms and that he went to California to take care of his ill sister.

But school officials say Kaye was actually in Japan, wrestling as his alter-ego Matt Striker. An investigation by school officials led them to the teacher's own website which includes photos of his trip to Japan. Kaye resigned when confronted by school officials.
Now that he has resigned from his teaching position, Kaye will have to earn quite a bit in the Squared Circle in order to reimburse the district for all the back pay that they are seeking from him. At his website, Kaye had this (among other things) to say:
1. I never stole anything from the NYC Dept. of Ed. Upon realization that sick days and personal days were two entirely different things- I immediately offered to remit the money for days paid that I was in Japan.

2. I resigned under advice from my union appointed lawyer, which resulted in a backlash of student and parent response because my students were receiving excellent instruction and preparation for the NYC Regents. Parents, Students and fellow members of the faculty organized petitions and such to return me to my position. I was and still am a GOOD teacher. The bottom line was the kids.

3. Was it fraud? Yes, I wholeheartedly admit that. Am I sorry? You have no idea how sorry I am. Did this merit a resignation and whirlwind news story and unfounded venom from message board patrollers? No.
I can still remember way back in my first year of teaching when a veteran teacher once told me that if you call in sick, don't let the superintendent catch you shopping down at Costco or Price Club in the middle of the day. Apparently, that's what someone in my district did and got caught.
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