No More Teacher Bullies

 

Matthew Wieliczko
Zeller and Wieliczko
120 Haddontowne Court
Cherry Hill, NJ 08034

Dear Mr. Wieliczko,

I assume you know what a terrible mistake it was to write the letter that you sent on behalf of Mrs. Altenburg. I assume you told your client this and that perhaps you even protested doing it. I also assume that you have a conscience, and that you may even feel shame for having signed your name to that atrocious effort at threat and intimidation.

I assume these things because I don’t know you and I give you the benefit of the doubt. I do, however, know your client.

I heard her engage in a conversation where my then ten-year-old son, who was present and listening, was demeaned and humiliated. I heard your client instruct her subordinate to lie to me. I heard your client attempt to subvert our IEP meeting, which, I believe, may have violated federal law. And there was so much more.

I recently released a new video about how my son was dropped off at the wrong house by his school bus driver and aide and abandoned there. At the end of that video I said that I would soon be making a major announcement regarding the very court case you mentioned in your letter. As your letter was dated the same day I made the video public, it appears that your threat was in response to that.

I refuse to give you any prior knowledge of that announcement, so I will not respond to the content of former Judge Colalillo’s decision. However, we both know that was a civil case where I was not a party. I could offer no defense, no response, nor could I correct the factual errors she made. I was merely a bystander in that courtroom. Even the judge seemed surprised that I was there which was telling in its own way.

If a man holds a knife to your throat, says he is not threatening you, but then makes demands, it is, for all reasonable intentions, a threat. For you to threaten prosecution then say it is not a threat insults both of us.

That former Judge Colalillo is now prosecutor for Camden County, whose office would most likely prosecute me, makes your threat all the more insidious and raises serious ethical questions for both you and her, if it turns out that she is a party to this threat.

As for your statement that the NJ Division of Child Protection and Permanency cleared your client, in relation to the verbal torment my son suffered that is categorically false.

I have the letter that the Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit (IAIU) sent to me on August 15, 2012, after they had completed their investigation. Whoever made the call to IAIU (it was not me) made the claim that there was “neglect” in the classroom. In fact, the letter is titled “Re: IAIU Findings Report in the Matter of Child Neglect…” concerning my son.

The investigation stated that “The available information does not meet the statutory requirement to find neglect.” The IAIU also stated that my son was “…observed uninjured and required no medical attention.” IAIU investigated for neglect and physical abuse, neither of which I have claimed happened.

After I heard your statement in court regarding your client being cleared by IAIU, I called them to ask about that. I was told specifically that they only investigated for physical abuse and did not investigate emotional abuse.

IAIU did not investigate the verbal torment Akian suffered because, as they explained to me when I asked, they wouldn’t even know how to do that. Therefore anything that the IAIU “cleared” your client of had nothing to do with the actual harm that was caused to him.

They did, however, add this: “Remedial action was taken by the School administration to prevent a similar occurrence.”

If your client did nothing wrong, why did the IAIU specifically go out of their way to mention that action was taken to remedy what had happened in her classroom?

As for the Board of Education’s investigation, need I remind you that they filed a number of tenure charges against your client and tried to fire her?

I understand why you and your client are so afraid of that audio. That’s why you didn’t want to face the tenure charges on their merit, but desperately sought a legal, technical way to never have to answer them. Your case is the perfect example of how broken the tenure system is and how teacher unions fight hard to protect bad teachers.

Be that as it may, I would be more than happy to meet with you and your client in an open setting where we could present our arguments and let the public come to their own conclusions. We can go through the audio using only what your client said and let her be judged on her own words and actions. If you feel confident as to her innocence, you should have no qualms about this. Please let me know when you’d like to do this and I will contact the media to arrange a proper venue.

At the conclusion of your letter you make one final threat. You state that if I continue to claim that your client harassed my son, that this will be considered a “…violation of the fair report privilege.”

It is fantastical that you think a threat from the woman who ruled over a classroom where my beloved child was nearly destroyed would intimidate me.

Your client was his teacher, the leader of that room, the one person who was supposed to protect him, yet under her rule my son suffered incredible distress and pain. I therefore hold your client responsible for everything that happened to my son, including the long lasting emotional damage he suffered while being her student.

It is absolutely stunning that your client wants all of the protections that tenure affords yet none of the responsibilities of what it means to be a teacher. Again, this shows exactly why tenure that protects bad teachers is morally wrong and hurts innocent children.

As you know from reading my deposition in the audio case, my son suffered horrifically while under your client’s care. This is not supposition, but documented fact. And as I said in that courtroom after the hearing was over, with you, the judge and your client present, my son still suffers to this day. Please know that I have not forgotten, nor will I ever forget the very real emotional injuries that were caused to my sweet and innocent child.

When I released my first video I said that I was not going to sue your client. I have kept my word on that. However, I have also said publicly that if I was sued I would press my case aggressively and use all of the knowledge and information at my disposal, some of which I have kept secret. I have a feeling that you would be surprised at what I know.

If you or the teacher unions are successful in pressuring or coercing a prosecutor into filing charges against me, one of my affirmative defenses will be to expose how your client deliberately instructed her subordinate to withhold critical information about what happened to my son.

“Day sheets” were the main form of communication between your client’s classroom and myself. These sheets were supposed to contain details of what happened to Akian while at school.

On the day I made the recording, when all those terrible things happened to my son, Akian’s aide asked your client what information she should put on the day sheet. Your client ordered her to do the following:

“Just do basic. Don’t even, you know what? I am so sick of them. I’m getting to the point where just say, you know, reading, comprehension.”

That’s some anger your client expressed about my family. Was she sick of us because I had been using all the normal channels to uncover why my son was suffering so much in her classroom? Was she sick of us because I cared so much about my son that I wanted to have an IEP meeting, which she also expressed a great deal of anger about? Or was she sick of us because she was worried that I might actually find out the real reason why Akian was having so many problems while under her care, and therefore she willfully acted to make sure I had as few details about his day as possible?

I have the note that was sent home that day. It said almost nothing. In fact, the second page of the day sheet had three sections that were supposed to be filled in with details, yet on that entire 8.5” x 11” piece of paper there were exactly two hand written words on it; “money” and “library.” The aide obeyed your client’s instructions to deny me information about my son’s school day.

That afternoon Akian’s mother picked him up at school. Your client told her, regarding Akian, that “…he’s a happy camper boy.”

Akian screamed and shed tears after being mocked and humiliated, and your client dared to say he was a happy camper boy?

The obstruction, the deliberate withholding of information, and the anger she expressed exposed the deception your client deployed to keep me from learning the truth. I was completely justified for making that recording, and if a prosecutor wants to send me to jail for that, so be it; I would rather spend a thousand years in jail than have let my beloved son spend one more second in the cruel and vicious room that your client commanded.

Mr. Wieliczko, if you do feel some shame over your letter, then I suggest that you, with all speed, retract this abomination and apologize for ever putting your name on it. Perhaps then there would be a chance that you might save a fraction of your reputation.

Allow me to end this by slightly paraphrasing Shakespeare’s Henry V. If you read this part and nothing else I have written, then you will have my answer to your threat in its entirety.

Scorn and defiance; slight regard, contempt,
And any thing that may not misbecome
myself as Akian’s father, do I prize you at.


Stuart Chaifetz