I sent the following long letter to the teachers union. I am not a member of the union so I am not eligible for legal services, as this would be a pre-existing condition. Please help.
Dear Houston Federation of Teachers,
My name is***** I am a teacher at Jefferson Davis Senior High School in Houston Independent School District. I have been teaching French, all levels, in the district for ten years. I have been teaching at Davis High School for five years. My principal’s name is*****
In the fall of 2014 I asked the principal if I could organize an international student educational tour for the Near Northside community. The tour company is EF Educational Tours (www.eftours.com), a private company that specializes in international travel for students. Dr. Alcantar agreed to support the tour and she also agreed to become a chaperone on the tour.
The tour is a trip to London and Paris during Spring Break of 2016. The tour dates are March 14 through March 20. As Group Leader of the tour, I now have 38 students and adults, and 5 chaperones enrolled on this tour, scheduled to depart in a few months.
The 38 travelers have paid for their enrollments directly to the company EF Tours. The tour cost is about $3,000 per person, with round-trip airfare, hotel, meals, transportation
, and professional tour guides included.
The 5 chaperones and I are exempt from the cost of the tour package, because there are assigned duties, student discipline management, safety vigilance, and other support from the chaperones necessary to ensure a safe and comfortable student tour overseas. The chaperones support the Group Leader.
EF Tours also assigns a professional Tour Director to our group. He is the main tour guide and is responsible for the itinerary, logistics, and acts as a local liaison for the group. He is the one in charge once we arrive in Europe.
My concerns are numerous, but they are all in regards ***** ***** Alcantar, the principal. Since 2014, she has attempted to take over the travel group as its leader and she has made demands on my time regarding the trip, and bullied me with insults, intimating that my leadership skills are poor, and that I am acting “willy-nilly”. She is the only one complaining, however. All other travelers are very pleased with what I have accomplished, and they are very excited about the trip.
Here is a list of grievances against Dr. Alcantar.
1) I intended this trip to be for students and their families. As soon as the tour was reserved, Dr. Alcantar paid EF Tours to enroll the following people:
a. Her husband
b. Her two children, a boy (9), and a girl (12)
c. Her mother-in-law
2) The Group Leader chooses the chaperones, however, since she’s principal, Alcantar picked as chaperones:
a. Claudia Garza, an assistant principal and best friend.
b. Rosa Giron, Alcantar’s office secretary. Giron doesn’t even work with the students. She’s not an educator.
3) Rosa Giron paid EF Tours to enroll her husband.
4) I have tried to explain to the chaperones (who are traveling for free) that this is a student educational tour, not a private vacation package for adults. I have tried to explain that they will have responsibilities while in London and Paris to take care of the travelers, the students.
5) Alcantar and Garza (even though they are chaperones) have verbalized that they intend to not only leave the group when they want to, but also to take paying students away from the group to do their own sight-seeing and shopping. This is a violation of the EF Tours contract
, and an unethical affront to the parents who have paid for their children to enjoy a full and safe educational tour. Imagine what would happen if under Alcantar’s charge, away from the group, a student was harmed or even lost in a foreign country?
6) Alcantar has repeatedly called me into her office to dramatically and vehemently complain that I do not know what I am doing, nothing’s been done, and I don’t know this or that. She demands report after report, lists, schedules, documents verifying rooming arrangements and meal-times. The fact is that she is a chaperone, the details of the trip are not her concern. Furthermore, I report to her as a teacher, not as a volunteer.
7) She told me that if I was too stressed out about the trip, then one of the other chaperones could replace me, a man named JP Cortez. She’d like JP to be Group Leader so that his wife can go for free, too. The wife is not an educator, either. Alcantar is the only reason I am stressed out.
It is within my power, as Group Leader, to replace any chaperone I choose. I would like to enroll actual teachers. However, I fear severe retaliation from Alcantar, since she is my supervisor.
I would like to know what my options are legally in the event that I cancel some of the chaperones’ enrollments on the trip.