Thursday, May 08, 2008

He's a Witch! Fire him!

Did a Florida substitute teacher get fired for doing a magic trick, or was it just the bunny that broke the tophat?

Jim Piculas says he was accused of "Wizardry" and fired.

"I get a call the middle of the day from the supervisor of substitute teachers. He says, 'Jim, we have a huge issue. You can't take any more assignments. You need to come in right away,'" he said.

When Piculas went in, he learned his little magic trick cast a spell that went much farther than he'd hoped.

"I said, 'Well Pat, can you explain this to me?' 'You've been accused of wizardry,' [he said]. Wizardry?" he asked.

As you might expect, the School Board says there's more to it than any outrage over the trick (which was making a toothpick appear and disappear)

In the letter sent by Pat Sinclair, who manages the substitute teacher program in Pasco schools, "wizardry" was not the only accusation against Piculus. He was also charged with not following lesson plans and allowing students on computers even though they had been instructed not do so.

Piculus denies that, saying only two students were allow to go on computers to study FCAT spelling words.

He was also charged with allowing a fifth period student peer to be in charge.


WMNF talked to a spokeswoman for the Pasco County School District, Renalia DuBose. She did not want to go on the air, but said the magic trick was minor, and just one of many issues that that school officials had with Piculus. She said there were concerns about his classroom management and that the classes he taught were "very unruly."

Since Florida is an "At will" state, they can fire you anything and you have little or no recourse. As such, Mr. Piculas doesn't have much of a chance to get his job back with that district, regardless of how frivolous the real reason for his firing may be.

h/t William Timmins


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